LAHS Seniors Jose Garcia And Kevin Roybal Earn Robotics Certifications From UNM-LA Through LAECCA Program

LAHS senior Jose Garcia will receive his high school diploma and certification in robotics from UNM-LA. Courtesy/LAHS

LAHS senior Kevin Roybal will receive his high school diploma and certification in robotics from UNM-LA. Courtesy/LAHS

LAHS News:

Two seniors from Los Alamos High School (LAHS) will receive their high school diploma and a certification from UNM-Los Alamos on graduation day, May 29.

Jose Garcia and Kevin Roybal will be certificated in Robotics. They have been members of the Los Alamos Early College and Career Academy (LAECCA) since their freshman year.

They both applied for, and were accepted into this growing program that operates within the high school and partners with UNM-Los Alamos.

LAECCA offers four pathways to complete a certification by taking dual credit courses with the goal of completing 30+ hours of college credit and graduating with a high school diploma and a certification in Electro-Mechanics, Robotics, Business/Marketing, or Emergency Medical Services.

Roybal and Garcia have successfully completed the certification in Robotics and are role models for the other students enrolled in LAECCA, according to Brent Collom, one of the LAECCA mentors, along with Cristin Haake and Robyn Ladino, principal Carter Payne, and teachers Don Davis, Mick Matuszak and Sharon Hurley.

Roybal is a “super-charged” student in Robotics with an eye towards using his Robotics Certification as a catalyst to propel his future goals of higher degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Roybal has excelled during his high school career as a team captain competing in both cybersecurity and underwater robotics design and implementation competitions through the NJROTC program. He also was a 4-H club president and member of the CTF (cybersecurity) Club. Roybal became a role model for students starting out in the LAECCA program. He encouraged many young students with his enthusiasm and optimistic attitude.

Roybal first heard about the LAECCA program in middle school and became very interested in robots, creating new designs, and completing projects individually and as a team member.

Roybal stated that the program is challenging but he believed, “with hard work, good work ethic, and great support from the LAECCA team, I was able to get through”. When asked what advice he might give to other students, his answers embodied his positive outlook, “I would tell other kids who are interested in LAECCA to join the program! LAECCA has really given me a good opportunity to get a college credit in high school and to learn, first hand, how college works.” Roybal succeeded in completing 30+ credits at UNM-LA during his high school career.

Garcia is an outstanding student with goals of attending UNM to major in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering. Garcia’s interest also began in middle school with a routine of watching Battle Bots on TV after school. In high school his interest continued when he joined LAECCA and accepted the pathway of Robotics. He was clear from the start of his high school career that Robotics would coordinate well with his future plans.

“I took the opportunity and made one of the best decisions of my life,” Garcia said.

During his coursework, he programmed a robotic arm to assemble a Jenga Tower and made it play with a pen. Garcia also designed and developed an all-terrain robot that utilized four 3-D printed independent tread units to overcome obstacles. With these skills, and many more acquired through the LAECCA dual credit courses, Garcia was hired by LANL as an intern.

Garcia would advise younger students to join LAECCA, “There are so many benefits to joining … it is an excellent way to find out if STEM is for you… You will also gain a multitude of highly practical and valuable skills that will give you a massive edge when it comes to applying for jobs and internships.”

The Los Alamos Early College and Career Academy administrative team congratulates Jose and Kevin on their outstanding achievements of high school graduation and their Robotics Certification from UNM-LA.