Amari Morgan is a senior at Cass Technical High School in Detroit — and one of the thousands of Michigan students who are the brains behind the robots built for FIRST Robotics competitions.

FIRST Robotics is a worldwide organization that encourages students to pursue education and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Each year, FIRST challenges high school teams around the world to build robots to accomplish goals on a gaming floor.

DTE Energy is an active supporter of FIRST Robotics in Michigan, sponsoring more than 30 teams across the state. In addition, dozens of DTE employees volunteer their time as coaches and mentors throughout the season, including skills-based volunteerism in computer programming and engineering.

This season is particularly exciting for Michigan teams: Detroit is hosting the FIRST Robotics world championship. This April, thousands of players representing teams from across the globe will compete at the Cobo Center — and our Michigan kids will be working to be a part of that crowd.

Leading up to the world championship, we’ll introduce you to many of the people of robotics and share the teams’ stories as they build robots and compete. We start today with an interview with Amari. She took a moment Jan. 6 to talk with us at the Michigan Engineering Zone, a robot building space in Detroit that hosted a kickoff event for the 2018 season.

Name: Amari Morgan

Age: 17

What school do you attend and what grade are you in?

I’m a senior at Cass Tech.

So, Cass Tech requires students to have a concentration in a particular field of study. What is your concentration?

Music; I play the clarinet.

Wow, music?! I was expecting math or science.  How do you think music and building robots go together?

When I’m concentrating on something, I like to put on something that calms my head. And in robotics, you concentrate on technical issues frequently. Music really helps with that; it allows me to focus.

What is your favorite part about participating robotics?

I like hearing about the new ideas — getting together with teammates and others and sharing our ideas on how to accomplish the goal of the game.

What are your plans after high school?

I’m going to Michigan State to study mechanical engineering.

Why mechanical engineering?

I like to work with my hands. A mechanical engineering degree gives me that opportunity.

How do you think robotics influenced your field of study?

I feel like it influenced me a great deal. It really opened me up to new ideas, opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have known about.

This year, the world championship is in Detroit. What do you think about that?

I’m from Detroit, I live here, I go to school here. For me and our team, it is more of an incentive to do well.

So, outside of robotics, what do you like to do in Detroit?

I like exploring the city. I really like food, so I like to go to different restaurants and experience new things.

What’s your favorite restaurant right now?

It’s just a regular coney island restaurant, called Detroit One. It’s delicious.

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