Our mission is to increase STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) enrichment opportunities for underserved students. We envision an equitable future for STEM education, where all youth have access to hands-on opportunities in STEM and can become future leaders in STEM.
A word from the founder,
Throughout my life I have been involved in the educational robotics community. Up until my start at Tulane University, I competed in robotics tournaments and taught summer robotics camps as well as free robotics classes at public libraries. Tulane requires all undergrads to participate in service within the New Orleans community throughout their study at Tulane. While looking for opportunities to complete this requirement, I discovered the lack of after-school STEM enrichment across New Orleans charter schools, especially robotics. Incorporating robotics into lower-education curriculums has been proven to be substantially beneficial for students, such as marked increases in college enrollment and interest in pursuing STEM careers. Despite this, only three New Orleans charter middle schools had robotics programs. This was extremely frustrating to me, but in April of 2021 I said,
“But maybe I can do something about it.”
And from there, the journey began. In April 2021, I solicited donations of robotics equipment online, hoping to give them to local schools. I found the impact of introducing schools in New Orleans to be so profound, I couldn’t stop. This later became the organization coined as RoboRecovery.
In the summer of 2021, I joined the Essentials Fellowship from 4.0 Schools, which helps leaders in education across the country launch early stage ventures for educational equity. As I developed the blueprint for RoboRecovery in the Essentials fellowship, I soon realized that New Orleans schools did not just need robots. With a 28% annual teacher turnover rate, most New Orleans schools are unlikely to even find a permanent robotics teacher. I needed to solve both the material and knowledge obstacles simultaneously. To do this, I created accessible robotics programs in partnership with schools. In the 2021-2022 school year, RoboRecovery ran free after-school robotics programs in three schools and one after-school club. In the summer of 2022, we loaned our robotics equipment to Wake Forest University to help them start a pre-college robotics summer program. Additionally, I joined both the Call for Kindness Fellowship and the Tiny Fellowship from 4.0 Schools, which helps educators scale promising pilot ventures for educational equity. Later in 2022, RoboRecovery expanded its horizons and ran free after-school programs at four schools and two after-school clubs. We also launched INTRO, an in-school robotics program.
To further my social entrepreneurship education, I joined the Changemaker Institute, which helps Tulane graduate students start social ventures. Over the past two years, RoboRecovery has mentored over 400 students in 11 New Orleans schools and 2 after-school organizations, making free robotics programs accessible to low-income and minority students. 70% of our after-school program participants are on free and reduced lunch, and 93% of them identify with ethnicities traditionally underrepresented in STEM (specifically, African-American or Hispanic). We survey these students before and after our 6-8 week program to gauge student growth in core areas. We have seen on average that there is a 34% increase in student interest in becoming future engineers, a 12% increase in interest in attending college, a 61% increase in confidence in explaining the engineering design process, an 83% increase in confidence in computer coding abilities, and a 20% increase in students’ reported ability to explain engineering and coding concepts.
Throughout this journey, I have learned that you never know who you touch nor how your contribution alters their life course. But knowing that I have the opportunity to make a difference drives me to keep reaching students, who may need that extra bit of support to find what they enjoy.
Founder of RoboRecovery