Mines students gear up for jobs in robotics

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The STEM field is constantly expanding, which means STEM jobs are in high-demand.

We show how students at the School of Mines are gearing up for jobs in robotics.

Kali Regenold is one of 950 students currently enrolled in computer science and engineering at the School of Mines.

She has a special interest in robotics.

Kali Regenold, computer science major, says, "Robotics and computer science is interesting because it's such a broad field. You can learn so much about something, but there's still so much more to learn. Even if one part of it isn't really your style, you can go into a different part and really like that."

Katrina Standup: Kali is interested in aerospace robotics, or robots on Mars, and robots like Lily help her practice her problem-solving skills. For example, Lily walks on legs instead of wheels because there's no roads on Mars.

Robotics is a huge area that covers computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering.

In Spring 2018, 130 Mines students graduated with degrees relating to these fields.

Dr. Jeff McGough, computer science and engineering professor, says, "I am absolutely optimistic. I think robotics is a good thing. I believe that there are a lot of people that are scared of robots. What I'm seeing is that for every job that they take, they add several jobs."

Dr. McGough says the physical appearance of robots hasn't changed for nearly 30 years.

What has changed is the intelligence inside the machines.

Dr. Jeff McGough says, "If you look at what you think of as an industrial robot, the industrial arms haven't changed. The vehicles haven't changed much. What's changing is in the intelligence of the vehicles. It's all in the computing. I see this as a breakout area, a growth area within computer science."

University employees say nearly all their graduates obtain jobs right away, and roughly 30 percent of them stay to work in the state.

The School of Mines is working with Ascent Innovation, encouraging students to create their own start-up companies and stay local.