New AI Club Fosters Innovation and Creativity

Mar 23, 2023 | CWSP, School News

It’s Tuesday at 3:30, the end of the school day. A group of about a dozen CRSM students gather in a conference room to assemble, “Deep Blue” and “Angel Bot.” These are the names they’ve coined for the two coding robotic kits they are building. The idea is to gain hands-on experience and career preparation in Artificial Intelligence-related fields.

The students are among a group of CRSM students who have recently launched an AI Club that meets weekly after school. With the idea that curiosity sparks innovation, “the club was formed with the hope that the minds of today could lead to tomorrow’s breakthroughs,” said Brian Weinberg, Director of the Corporate Work Study program who supervises the group.

Emily, a CRSM junior who is interested in studying and pursuing a career in computer science, was the impetus for the club. She put out the call for members. During the inaugural meetings held this month, students have been working to assemble two coding kits. 

“In school we are learning all about the uses of robots in the medical field and all the ways AI and robotics are coming at us fast,” said Emily. “AI is going to be a big part of our lives and we wanted to get a head start learning about it.”

Although the club just began, the long-term vision for it extends beyond CRSM and includes preparing students for the workforce of the future.

“Not only are the students having a blast with this, but we are setting the groundwork for how they may be using AI at their work-study jobs and their careers after college,” said Brian, who is the staff advisor for the club. “It’s also so great to see the mix of participants. There are freshmen and juniors and an equal mix of boys and girls.”

The club is partially funded by a $170 grant from Scholastic Artificial Intelligence League (SAILea).  The grant was written by Amy with the help of advisor Weinberg and included an interview with SAILea officers. SAILea is a nonprofit network of high school AI clubs working to educate the next generation of AI aficionados and foster community around one of the world’s most enticing technologies. The group is missioned: “to spread AI to every high school in America.” A $215 club fee from CRSM, helped support the almost $400 cost for the two robot kits.

“The group also is about having fun,” says Amy. Club members are hoping to sponsor a movie night with Student Council and have a snowball making machine. “Plus, we are going to put eyelashes on the robots,” she adds. Next fall, members of the AI Club will have the opportunity to participate in Abbott Laboratories on-site robotics club. Abbott is one of CRSM’s work-study partners. Its robotics club is one of several opportunities the pharmaceutical giant offers to support tomorrow’s inventors and innovators and ignite a passion for STEM careers.