High school students on the tiny Micronesian island of Kosrae will be building, programming, and competing with their own advanced robots for the first time. Located at the remote eastern end of the Federated States of Micronesia, this island of less than seven thousand inhabitants is renowned for its pristine waters and lush mountain landscape.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, Habele is providing equipment, training, and support for the formation of Kosrae’s first-ever “Kosrae Robo League.” The Habele Robotics League has collaborated with public and private schools across the FSM since 2012, beginning in Yap, and expanding to Chuuk and Pohnpei States in 2018. Now, high school students on Kosrae will join their peers across the FSM in mastering science and technology concepts in an innovative, hands-on way.
In remote communities with limited resources, opportunities for students to meaningfully engage with applied science, technology, engineering, and math are extremely narrow, or nonexistent. By partnering with island educators and community leaders, Habele helps expand local capacity for developing students with a rich grounding in the technologies driving much of the modern economy.
“Experimenting with ideas in a tangible way is a great complement to classroom instruction,” says Christopher Johnson, a South Carolina teacher and Habele volunteer. “This program engages students who might not think of themselves as ‘math and science’ types, and gets them on a path they never would have imagined.”
Across Micronesia, every participating robotics club has the freedom to develop and define their own structure and schedule. Students are encouraged to experiment and explore with the equipment, making the robots an expression of their club’s personality and skills. This culminates in “Robo Day” exhibitions, where clubs from schools in each state gather to compete in problem-solving matches and demonstrate newfound skills in front of the whole community.
“We see students light up with excitement while they’re creating and problem-solving with complex equipment and concepts,” says Matthew Coleman, Habele’s Executive Director. “Micronesia’s future engineers and technology experts are being developed right here.”
In addition to the Robotics League, Habele provides tuition scholarships for students across the FSM, and provisions public school libraries.