January 9, 2023

Reflections on the Robot Training Academy (2022)

As we enter 2023 and prepare to welcome a new cohort of students, we're reflecting on what we've achieved in the Robot Training Academy over the past year.  

Why the "Robot Training Academy"?  

rel8ed.to’s Robot Training Academy started with the desire to help students gain first-hand experience in the world of data science.  

Under the guidance of rel8ed.to staff, students are given the opportunity to learn the basics of data science and the opportunity to quite literally “train robots.” Through the unique programs we’ve developed for the academy, students learn how to use tools like “Kumiho,” our specially designed AI, and gain first-hand experience training models and AI.  

But why do this? Why put in the effort to train high school and post secondary students on these tools? 

Because we believe in the importance of nurturing the next generation of data scientists. You see, at rel8ed.to, we believe the future of AI and Analytics-driven innovations will be defined by the “thinkers” as much as the “coders."  

And we’ve been ignoring the role in finding smart thinkers to help our artificially intelligent systems deliver value.  

We want students and the next generation of data scientists to see that data isn’t just about “coding,” knowing python, or honing their technical chops – it’s also about developing a way of thinking and curiosity that adds the much needed “human” touch to data science and AI.  

Our robots need us. They need the diversity of the human eye and experience to uncover truly meaningful insights in the data and “code.” 

That’s why we work with students and youth interested in data science. They have an opportunity to hone their curiosity early – to question data and “information” and explore new meanings. 

And it’s been oh so rewarding to see students embark on their own data journeys after their time with us. 

What students achieved in 2022 

In 2022 we had just over 100 students enroll in the Robot Training Academy.  

For a semester, these students attended workshops where they learned how to complete data projects focusing on areas such as: 

  • Data research 
  • Data quality 
  • Website scraping 
  • Querying data 
  • Ethics and data sources  

After completing their training sessions with us, several students decided to continue their data science journeys. While we have tracks in the RTA from junior to super-advanced, we'd like to highlight some of our entry-level participants.

Here's a quick highlight at what they've achieved over the last year: 

  1. After attending the RTA, a DSBN student (Winter 2021) entered the Ontario Wide Robotics tournament in Ottawa. His team won the competition and each student was awarded a scholarship. The link to the competition is located here: https://www.roboticseducation.org/vex-robotics-world-championship/  
  1. Just one week after starting the RTA with us, a current college student was offered a permanent position with one of our clients! The client was very impressed with our student's skills after noticing his progress with one of their projects. He is still employed with the company and is one of our fastest moving RTA students since the program started.  
  1. A DSBN student from the 2021 Winter term had every intention of pursuing nursing after finishing high school. But after a semester with the RTA, her interests changed drastically. She was accepted into a mentorship program at Brock University for Data Research, and is now looking to become a Data Analyst in the future. 
  1. Before attending the current RTA semester, one of our students only had a background in the Nursing field. She decided to join the RTA because she wanted to learn skills that would help her move into an IT position. After attending our night classes for a couple of weeks, she was officially brought on as a part time Data Researcher at rel8ed.to Analytics. She is currently working on different projects and continuing to gain experience that she wouldn't have learned elsewhere.  

This student highlight is just the tip of the iceberg. Next month we'll talk about our advanced researchers and projects, partially funded by the Government of Canada, with groundbreaking work in longitudinal language processing.

There's always research happening in the RTA and at rel8ed.to, and we look forward to sharing more of these projects with you!

Badges for our RTA participants

Next cohort to open in February 2023 

We’re excited to continue our work and mission to foster more “data curiosity” in students in 2023. 

Our next cohort starts in February. If you know a high school, college, or university student who might be interested, send them to our RTA page where they can learn more about the program and save their seat.  

No data analytics experience is required. All that’s needed is an inquiring mind, a desire and curiosity to dig deep and find answers 😊, and a computer with internet access.  

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