Last month, Emmett J. Conrad High School’s RoboChargers were crowned the UIL Robotics State Champions, after competing with 80 of the highest-ranked teams in Texas. The championship gave the team the opportunity to compete at the world level, and much joy, dedication, and motivation went into making it happen. But while this was a great success for the whole team, it held a particularly special meaning for one of the RoboChargers, Tyler K.
For Tyler, the competition was his safe space, where he felt included and had a room full of people celebrating something that he was passionate about. “It was so exciting to come so far,” he said, adding that he was proud to be a part of something of such magnitude. Now, he said, he can use that motivation to kick-start his academic future.
Tyler is a junior in the Health Science pathway at Conrad High School. He is the son of parents Phoumy and Natalie K. His mom is from Thailand, while his dad is from Laos. Tyler, born in America, prides himself on being one of very few Asian Americans at Conrad. Although he says it was a struggle in the beginning to find other students within his community, he was able to develop great friendships with those on his robotics team.
He gives his dad a lot of credit when it comes to his comfort level at Conrad since his father is a chemistry teacher on campus. Having his dad on campus makes him feel “popular” but also keeps him on his toes when it comes to academics. “My dad is so kind and understanding when working with high school students, so I try to copy that patience in what I do.”
Tyler took up engineering when he decided he loved building intricate models and managing projects. His goal is to attend the University of Texas at Austin in engineering. After college, he plans to develop his own arcade room and inspire others to follow their dreams.
This summer, Tyler will be taking part in the Verizon Summer internship, through NAF, a national nonprofit that transforms the high school experience to prepare students for college, career, and future success. He was offered two internships and chose Verizon, where he plans to gain experience as he takes on his very first job.
Certified “C101” in Engineering, Tyler is setting himself up for success. He aspires to use his education and experience in robotics to have his own arcade store one day. To inspire others, Tyler says, “Everyone starts from somewhere. As long as you have a dream, you can pull through.”