In 2016, Ryan Swanson started COR Robotics to promote STEM careers by sparking an interest in students through summer camps. The first summer COR Robotics held 7 summer camps, and in 2018 the goal is to host 50 robotics camps across the region. “I gained a passion for robotics in high school, founded Bison Robotics Club in college, and now I am sharing robotics with students with COR Robotics,” explained Swanson.
As a student at Becker High School in Becker, Minnesota, Swanson was a competitor on the robotics team for two years. “My high school robotics team really tried to operate like a small business… It was really my first experience with a startup,” said Swanson. After graduating, Swanson began undergraduate studies at North Dakota State University and soon made a realization, there wasn’t a club for robotics on campus.
The Bison Robotics Club was founded out of Swanson’s passion and desire to share robotics with others. During his freshman year, the club began with 24 members, which multiplied to over 150 members during his junior year. “Things went really well with Bison Robotics…. We won Student Organization of the Year at NDSU in both my sophomore and junior years despite only existing for 2 years,” explained Swanson.
With a desire to continue with robotics and time on campus waning, Swanson began to question what was next. “During the summer of my sophomore year, I volunteered to run a summer robotics camp at my high school… At the end of the camp, the head coach of the robotics team Alex Jurek made the suggestion that I run more camps at other schools as a business,” said Swanson. Since this moment, Swanson has taken this advice and launched COR Robotics, which is mirroring the growth of the club he founded during college.
Today, COR Robotics is running fun and educational summer robotics camps for 3rd through 8th grade students. The camps utilize the same robotics kits that are used in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Competitions. During the early stages of COR Robotics, Swanson utilized the Innovate ND program to get 7 camps running the first summer. “I competed in the Innovation Challenge Competition but didn’t make it past the first round… However, through the competition I was put in contact with the Innovate ND Program that helped me get the start I needed,” explained Swanson.
The goal for COR Robotics is to multiply into surrounding states including Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin. “In 2019, we are shooting for a total of 100 camps… We are seeking to create a deeper interest in STEM careers by sparking an interest in robotics,” said Swanson. The COR Robotics website shares information about upcoming camps and sponsorship possibilities for teachers and school districts.