Queens lawmaker partners with Forest Hills robotics team to promote STEAM summer program

Forest Hills Gearmasters
The Forest Hills Gear Masters Robotics Team. (Photo by Elizabeth Ngai)

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. is partnering with the Gearmasters Robotics Team from Forest Hills to promote their free STEAM2Youth two-week summer program to engage elementary school students who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). 

“As we continue to live in a more and more technologically advanced world, it is imperative that our youth are engaged in the sciences. And if we want to be the leading nation when it comes to tech, we need the next generation to find a love for the STEAM subjects,” Addabbo said. 

The Gearmasters are providing elementary school students (ages 11-14) with a two-week STEAM course on Zoom this month with fun, hands-on activities with the goal of promoting gender and income equality in STEAM fields among the youth. 

Students will learn how to build a food powered clock with wires and electrical components, and how to build catapults while learning about potential and kinetic energy, and how levers work, according to Erdly-Liang, 15, a member of the Gearmasters and a rising sophomore at Hunter College High School. 

Materials for the students will be provided by the Gearmasters and can be picked up at Addabbo’s Middle Village Office, located at 66-85 73rd Pl. in Middle Village, or common household items will be used. There are only 20 spots available and students are taken on a first-come first-served basis. As an active Parent Participation program, an adult is required to accompany the child for each meeting.  

“The Gearmasters are donating their time to provide 20 of our local students the chance to learn about these STEAM subjects from true World Champions,” Addabbo said. “I am proud to partner with the Gearmasters to promote this fantastic program and to be a pick-up location for the program’s materials. Parents and guardians need to register their children fast to ensure they secure one of the 20 spots.” 

The Gearmasters know their way around STEAM education as they have advanced to the FIRST® Robotics World Championships four years in a row (2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022), and are the three-time NYC reigning champions. 

Gearmasters, which stands for Get Excited About Robotics, was established in 2014, according to Erdly-Liang. 

“We build robots and we go to competitions and compete in a robot game. But another part of our competition is outreach. We reach out to the community to teach them about robotics, and in this case, one of our programs is STEAM2YOUTH,” Erdly-Liang said. 

The STEAM2YOUTH program will begin later in the month when the 20 spots are filled. 

“We’re very interested in fostering community outreach and our team is part of the Forest Hills Robotics League, which is a nonprofit run by Iffat Mai, and we’re very grateful for her support,” Erdly-Liang said. 

To quickly register for the program, scan the QR code in the accompanying flier, or visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScsGhf6AFtrySEuv_5Ol3L6VJQmig6V3bh9G4sv1L4_qkQi9Q/viewform.