Skip To Main Content

DVISD robotics teams recruit volunteers at Telsa Gigafactory

DVISD robotics teams recruit volunteers at Telsa Gigafactory
Christian Aleman-Rodriguez

The Del Valle High School and Ojeda Middle School robotics teams recently visited Tesla. They presented their competition robots and engaged in conversations with employees, aiming to recruit them as volunteers for the program.

The students attended a perks fair for Tesla employees at the Texas Gigafactory just down the road from DVHS in early February with FIRST in Texas. This nonprofit teaches students about STEM fields through robotics competitions and training. 

“We want to see if we can get Tesla employees interested in participating in FIRST, and our secondary goal is to see if we might interest people in volunteering with our high school,” said DVHS robotics teacher Antonio Maldonado. “It's been a really good experience for students to network. I tell them they can achieve so much by networking and talking to people. Once they get going, they get comfortable. They're doing a great job of talking to everyone.” 

Ojeda MS robotics teacher Francisco Nila said the middle school students who spoke with employees at the event also did an amazing job talking about their work.

“They were very excited, a little nervous, but once they got into their element, they were able to talk to a lot of the employees. They were doing great. They were having fun and enjoying the time, not only amongst themselves but also with the Tesla employees,” he said.

While robotics students are accustomed to collaborating on building robots and competing against other schools, their visit to Tesla provided a unique learning experience. For many, it was their first time speaking publicly about their work and the robotics program, a moment that was at first challenging but proved rewarding.

“So today has been very fun and exciting to meet new people and explain what we do and what we can do for them and the impact we have. It's also interesting because we hear their opinions or suggestions,” said freshman ECHS student Tayli Oxlaj-Vicente. 

Being a freshman, Tayli is new to RedBird Robotics, but joining was a natural decision because she comes from a family of engineers and aspires to become one herself. She’s known for a while now that she wants to be an engineer. 

“Since third grade. My uncle is a mechanical engineer, and I want to be a mechanical engineer, too. I want to build stuff and experience new things,” she said. “Now that I'm starting engineering, I can also see that maybe I want to do electrical engineering and coding. Coding is very fun and interesting. It gets confusing, but I have teachers there to help me.”

Freshman Bella Tovar, who also comes from a family of engineers and has plans to study engineering herself, also spoke with Tesla employees. She said that simply being at the Gigafactory and knowing DVISD partners with the electric car manufacturer was awe-inspiring.

“It's really shocking that I'm here. I remember it being built, and now it is built, and there are a lot of job opportunities here. It's cool because our schools are also organized with Tesla and bolstered by Tesla,” she said. 

Antonio and Francisco Nila noticed the Tesla employees they spoke to were eager to learn about DVISD’s robotics programs and how they might be able to volunteer their time and expertise to help students succeed. 

“We had a lot of great people who were very curious about it, talking about how robotics and STEM have advanced. Employees are very excited about what's going on, and we're encouraging them to come on in and work with us, show us how to use certain tools, and develop those skills that kids need, especially at a young age,” Francisco said. 

DVHS robotics student pose for a photo with their competition robot at Tesla
Ojeda MS robotics students take a photo with a kangaroo mascot and their competition robot at Tesla
DVHS robotics student speak about their work with Tesla employees
Ojeda MS robotics students speak with Tesla employees about their work
Ojeda robotics students take a photo after leaving Tesla, where they spoke with employees about their work
Robotics students speak with Tesla employees about their work
Robotics students speak with Tesla employees about their robotics work