Several students in the App Development and Coding class at Mundelein High School excelled in the Amazon Cyber Robotics Challenge recently. Two different class sections competed and the first place winners were Xander Ede, Ella Kasamis and Caden Minehart. Second place went to Enrique Gonzalez, Marshall Maxim and Erich Robb. Third place finishers were Michael Chen and Vytautas Zumas.
Students programmed a virtual version of Hercules, the robot used in Amazon fulfillment centers to bring shelving pods to workers to pack orders. “Amazon has a sophisticated system of fulfilling its orders and a lot of computer science is involved in making it happen,” said Chris Hoster, teacher of the course who attended a live virtual tour of a facility. “The Robotics Challenge allowed students to connect their programming knowledge to real-world innovations that solve problems and create innovative solutions,” he explained.
The competition was provided by the Amazon Future Engineer (AFE) program at MHS which supplies coursework and programs for students who are interested in computer science and engineering. The program also offers scholarships for seniors, virtual and in-person tours, class meetings with real Amazon engineers, internships, teacher support and more as it continues to build this program. “Amazon knows there is a huge demand for these jobs that pay very well and wants to increase the interest in our youth to explore computer science and engineering,” Hoster explained. The US is projected to have only 28 percent of computer science graduates to fill the 1.4 million computer science-related jobs available (Bureau of Statistics, 2020).
App Development and Coding, AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A are courses that are part of the AFE program at MHS.