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