EDISON — Bianna Gutierrez, a sophomore at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in North Edison, attended a rigorous three-week residential engineering program on the campus of Drexel University in Philadelphia this summer. She was one of 120 applicants to be accepted to the program.
Gutierrez is the daughter of Nadine Guzman of Metuchen and Manuel Gutierrez of Elizabeth.
“I learned many skills dealing with computer programming and robotic engineering. I worked with my mentor, Dr. Ani Hsieh, who is the head of the Scalable Autonomous Systems Lab at Drexel’s College of Engineering, as well as many mobile robots. The robots were quite small and flimsy looking, but they appeared to be quite applicable to execute commands,” said Gutierrez.
“I worked with the computer programmer called MATLAB, and I learned a bit of pre-calculus in the process while revisiting basic arithmetic. I created my first vector on the second day of lab. It was exciting because I did not know pre-calculus. The programming was logical and the robots responded well to my commands. It took a few tries, as robots only do what you tell them to do. I learned how to solder a robot together, and I took a robot apart and reassembled it.”
Gutierrez added, “These new-found skills will help me as I enter my sophomore year at Wardlaw-Hartridge. I am now more aware of what a computer can do. This will help when writing a paper or creating a graph and table for chemistry. I am able to express my ideas clearly in words when writing up a lab. I will also be able to discover how many others are also interested in robotics. I hope to bring to Wardlaw-Hartridge a robotics team after my experience at Drexel.”
Her experiences at Drexel have underlined Gutierrez’s commitment to pursue a career in engineering. She shared, “I plan to become a mechanical engineer for NASA. My ultimate goals is to be an astronaut.”
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