August 6, 2021

Innovative education and outreach: K-12 Robotics Center | University of Nevada, Reno
With support from Tesla and EDAWN, a new and unique University facility for robotics-based education and competition teams will strengthen the path to degrees and careers

RENO, Nevada – A vision to create a unique space that encourages young people’s interest in robotics, computer science, engineering and automation – and create a pathway to degrees and careers – is now reality. The K-12 Robotics Center | University of Nevada, Reno, supported by Tesla and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), celebrated its opening in downtown Reno on August 6, 2021.

K-12 robotics competitions spark students’ interest and development in these critical fields of study, and competition teams need specialized equipment and large, open areas as they design, build and test their creations. The K-12 Robotics Center provides the necessary tools and space.

“It will be a place where kids and parents, coaches, teachers and University faculty all come together,” said Mridul Gautam, the University’s vice president for research and innovation and professor of mechanical engineering. “The kids will learn to design and build, and they’ll see the opportunities and the support for their future success.”

Mike Kazmierski, EDAWN president and CEO, sees the K-12 Robotics Center helping to answer a big question: “Where are we going to be as a region in 10 years? If we are going to be a tech hub, we need to reinvent how we think about and teach technology.”

EDAWN has added the role of regional robotics coordinator, held by Caroline Hanson, to its team to support programming and connect the region’s robotics-related efforts, educators and organizations.

“We need our students – at all levels of our educational systems and from all backgrounds – to see and understand the opportunities ahead,” said University President Brian Sandoval.

The K-12 Robotics Center is in the historic Southside Studio, formerly the Southside School annex, at the corner of Liberty and Sinclair Streets, across the street from the University’s Innevation Center. Operated by the University since 2019, the Southside Studio is home to Sierra Nevada Journeys, a science-education nonprofit organization serving Nevada and California. The Southside Studio also helps meet the demand for work-space available to early-stage entrepreneurial companies engaged with the Innevation Center.

Recently completed remodeling of the Southside Studio, supported by Tesla, addressed ADA accessibility and added a new HVAC system, a competition practice area and a new Woodshop that complements the Innevation Center’s Makerspace.

More information about the K-12 Robotics Center is available at For volunteers, organizations or businesses wanting to be involved, email Hanson at

– @unevadareno –

Photo cutline: Nevada Lt. Governor Kate Marshall and University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval visit with members of FYRE Robotics, a FIRST Robotics Competition team, at the K-12 Robotics Center opening event. Photo by David Calvert.

About University of Nevada, Reno
The University of Nevada, Reno, is a public research university committed to the promise of a future powered by knowledge. Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University serves 21,000 students. The University is a comprehensive, doctoral university, classified as an R1 institution with very high research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Additionally, it has attained the prestigious “Carnegie Engaged” classification, reflecting its student and institutional impact on civic engagement and service, fostered by extensive community and statewide collaborations. More than $800 million in advanced labs, residence halls and facilities has been invested on campus since 2009. It is home to the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and Nevada Wolf Pack Athletics, and is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Through a commitment to world-improving research, student success and outreach benefiting the communities and businesses of Nevada, the University has impact across the state and around the world. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Jane Tors
Research Communications Director
University of Nevada, Reno