Black History Month 2022 Feature: Oscar DeVon McCullough

Organization: Potomac School Robotics, Enginotic 6 Robotics

State: Virginia

How did you become interested in robotics? Growing up, I was always interested in robotics, math, science and actively sought out opportunities to participate in robotics. One of the most pivotal things for me was participating in a VEX Robotics team in middle school. I loved it so much that I continued in both HS and University and beyond.

What made you want to start a team and work with students? It was always important for me to pay it forward in the same way I had many mentors, coaches, and volunteers in robotics do the same for me. From volunteering at events and helping teams to providing support and knowledge for teams, I found a home and place of belonging in robotics. I discovered working with students is one of my favorite things to do. I wanted to start a team when I saw that students who I mentored didn’t have a program to transition to after they left our elementary school VIQC program. I wanted to give them a great experience in robotics in V5RC and beyond because many of them truly loved robotics.

What benefits/strengths have you seen develop in your students? 

I've seen my students' confidence raise in bounds. I've seen their leadership skills grow tremendously, and I've seen a stronger sense of community and wanting to pass on knowledge or pay things forward. I've seen thoughtful and compassionate students grow through my program, and many started great careers in STEM.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in getting involved with robotics?

Approach it openly and wholeheartedly. Like any activity, it requires effort and patience to see the results you want and to learn. Everyone learns and grows at different rates. The goals and milestones you set for yourself should be your own definition of success. It could be learning how to build a basic robot and program it successfully in a classroom, building a robot for a competition, or learning how to apply all sorts of cool mechanisms and coding concepts to your robot. It's all up to you. Give it your all and have fun - that's the important part!

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