Arlington Students Get Hands-On Experience at General Motors

Clutching a remote control, 18-year-old Simba Chinomona directed a small robot to lift a domino and place it on the target.

Chinomona’s task was not unlike the work being done at General Motors Arlington Assembly, which builds about 1,200 cars a day, including the line’s full-size-sports-utility vehicles.

Chinomona, a senior at Lamar High School, was among roughly 80 Arlington students who gathered at the GM plant on Friday to get a hands-on glimpse of science and engineering at work.

“Engineering has so many practical applications that can make people’s lives better,” said Chinomona, 18. “It’s awesome to get hands-on experience and see the technology in the real world.”

Students flew drones, worked on a simulated assembly line, programmed robots and assembled mock cars at the second annual “GM STEM Day,” which aims to ignite students’ passion for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

GM Arlington Assembly Spokeswoman Jennie Ecclestone said fostering STEM education and outreach is one of the company’s pillars.

“We need to help build and prepare the next generation of engineers,” Ecclestone said. “GM and the entire automotive industry need engineers and scientists, not just for building cars, but for developing and building the technology behind those cars.”

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams attended the event. Supporting Quality Education in the American Dream City is one of the City Council’s top priorities.

Earlier in the day, GM handed out $100,000 in grants to seven nonprofit organizations to help fund STEM education and outreach programs in the Arlington area. Recipients included Arlington Independent School District Foundation, International Leadership of Texas, Junior Achievement of Chisholm Trail, Mansfield Independent School District Foundation, River Legacy Foundation, United Way of Tarrant County and University Crossroads at University of Texas at Arlington.

For Angelica De La Hoya, a junior at Sam Houston High School, flying a drone was the highlight of the day. De La Hoya, who wants to pursue a career in computer science, said visiting GM was inspiring.

“The technology is so creative,” De La Hoya, 16, said. “It’s pretty cool to actually see the cars being built and all the work that goes into it.”

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