Rohan Katreddy moved from Malaysia to Fredericton two years ago, and since then, he has thrived at George Street Middle School’s Brilliant Labs program.
Inside the lab, the 12-year-old STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fanatic learned to code and invented the app Flora Feed, an intelligent plant-watering system that cost him $40 to make.
“It has a Bluetooth chip on it so I can control it from wherever I have range, but for Flora Feed 2.0 I can use Wi-Fi, so I can control it from anywhere in the world and have a live feed of my plants,” said Katreddy.
“It’s pretty simple; took me like a day.”
Brilliant labs is a non-profit organization based in Atlantic Canada that provides future engineers, mathematicians and scientists project-based learning within the classroom. Over the past year the organization has created more than 150 maker spaces and more than 225 maker carts in schools across New Brunswick.
The lab is a preparation for the imminent shifting job landscape that will be centered around science and technology in the future.
“Our students are often too humble about their accomplishments to recognize the exceedingly complex implications that their actions and their innovations have beyond their local communities,” said Jacob Lingley, program director for Brilliant Labs.
To inspire the next cohort of STEM innovators and to help further develop the lab, the provincial government has granted $500,000 to expand their program, but the funds won’t just benefit kids in the capital city.
“Brilliant labs is working on setting up maker spaces in different schools across the province,” said Dominic Cardy, New Brunswick’s Education and Early Childhood Development Minister.
Katreddy and the other students, meanwhile, say they are solution-driven and they have a clear vision for their future.
“I’m going to be a robotics engineer and I want to start my own company,” said Katreddy.
Other students say the labs are simply a great place to get work done.
“Whenever I have a project that needs to be done, this is the first place I come to,” said Ben MacNally, a George Street Middle School student.