“I Will” Mentorship Foundation helping Lee County students learn STEM, build robots

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Students working on a robot with the “I Will” Mentorship Foundation. (Credit: WINK News)

Getting students excited about STEM careers is what one local organization aims to do. The “I Will” Mentorship Foundation aims to expose as many kids as possible to robotics, engineering, coding and more.

Firing up a drill is not what most kids would do after school, but London Daniels does. She is going to turn a piece of metal into a real robot.

“Most of the girls that are in my class are usually into sports and stuff, so yeah, it’s a bit different,” said London Daniels, an 8th grader at the Crestwell School in south Fort Myers.

Doctor Jesse Bryson says it is a good type of different. He is the founder and CEO of the “I Will” Mentorship Foundation. It is designed to expose kids, especially minorities, to STEM programs outside of the classroom. “Our community in general specifically needed to be able to have a skill set other than athletics as a means, as a way for them to become productive citizens. We need alternatives because we need to include all kids. Not every youth is athletically gifted, but every child has the ability to think and be creative,” said Bryson.

Kids have plenty of space to do that at the “I Will” Mentorship Foundation office in the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center. There they science, computer and robotics labs where kids can get a taste of all things STEM.

“I was interested in robotics ever since I was little because I like the creative aspect,” said Kevin Augutis, a Florida Southwestern Collegiate High School sophomore. “I think that it is unique to have the chance to be here and really explore my passions.”

“As they begin to learn electronics, begin to do pneumatics, and we go into on-site visits, you start to see their mind just really expand,” said Bryson. They are expanding the mind and uncovering talent. “It gives me more options to choose and to be good at something,” said Daniels.

The students building the robot with the help of the “I Will” Mentorship Foundation did more than just learn about the world of STEM, they built a robot that beat robots from students across the state. They are now preparing for the FIRST Robotics World Championship.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.