Soldering a Connection: The Start of a Mentoring Relationship #makereducation

Coco and annika

Laura Cochrane at MAKE interviewed roboticist Annika O’Brien and her young mentee about their experiences together. Their story speaks to the essential role of mentoring in the STEM fields, especially for young women:

Coco Kaleel, the mentee:
Soldering! Really, that’s how it all started with us. Soldering usually helps connect an electrical component to a circuit board and that connection allows current to pass through, completing the circuit. For me, the skill of soldering connected me to someone really special — and much, much more.

Greetings! I am Coco and I’m 12 years old. As far back as I can remember, I loved to make things. When I was three I built a hand-cranked carousel with a flywheel and gear pattern from Tinker Toys for my stuffed animals. I later got into Legos and have loved them ever since.

When I was around 8, I got a set of Lego Mindstorms, and that’s really when I started to get into electronics. The Mindstorms were really cool, but I wanted more flexibility. That lead me to the Arduino. I learned a little about programming it on the Adafruit Learning System tutorials. However, everything really changed when I went to the LA Robotics Club and met Annika O’Brien (who is currently Chief Roboticist and CTO at STEAMtrax).

Annika is the founder of the club, which now has over 1,800 members. I didn’t really plan on Annika becoming my mentor, but that’s what happened. It all started, though, because of soldering. I showed up at Annika’s first soldering class at the LA Robotics Club. Annika went through all the steps with me, the safety protocol … and I loved it!

Read the full interview here!


Adafruit_Learning_SystemEach Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!


Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.