Skip to Main Content

Intro to Engineering Students Enjoy Programming Robots


Surry Community College’s Intro to Engineering EGR-150 students get hands-on experience with programming languages and robotics in a course designed to provide students with an overview of the engineering profession.

EGR-150 is a class that is approved for college transfer to the North Carolina University System as an introductory engineering class or elective course requirement. EGR-150 will be offered in Fall 2021 at SCC. Math Instructor Kristopher Simino teaches the lab portion of the class.

“The idea behind this class is fun. It’s not meant to be intense, but to allow students to see the different sides of engineering,” Simino said. “We do group projects where the students program robots to go through a maze and accomplish certain goals. The lab also involves group discussions when students talk about the practical applications of the class, such as how self-driving cars use sensors like their robots do.”

Students learn a simplified version of the C++ programming language called Sketch to program their robots. Future EGR-150 students will build weather stations and compete in bridge building competitions. There are no pre-requisites or corequisites for the class.

The class lecture is taught by Dr. Gopal Sapkota, SCC Physics Instructor. Class topics include goal setting and career assessment, ethics, public safety, the engineering method and design process, written and oral communication, interpersonal skills and team building, and computer applications. Upon completion, students should understand the engineering process, the engineering profession and utilize college resources to meet their educational goals.

Reed Morgan of Dobson is taking classes at SCC to earn an Associate in Arts, an Associate in Science and a certificate in Computer Programming. He took EGR-150 in Spring 2020.

“I liked that the class offered a hands-on approach to wiring, building and coding with breadboards and Arduinos, which is something I'd never done before taking the class,” Morgan said. “My favorite projects were programming a pattern into an array of lights and building a robot that can determine the speed of an object that moves in front of it.”

Morgan plans to become a software designer and engineer. He is a super-senior at the Surry Early College and will graduate in May.

Devin Hill of Mount Airy is pursuing an Associate in Science and an Associate in General Education at SCC. He plans to transfer in 2022 and earn a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He graduated from East Surry High School in 2019. He took EGR-150 in Fall 2020.

“I really enjoyed the more hands-on engineering natured things we did in lab. We learned the basics of programming using an Arduino. We then took that rudimentary programming knowledge and used our Arduinos to do a variety of things such as displaying arrays of lights, powering robots and programming the robots to guide themselves around a maze,” Hill said.

Cameron Brown of State Road is pursuing an Associate in Science, Associate in Arts and an Associate in General Education at SCC. He graduated from East Wilkes High School and took EGR-150 in Fall 2020.

“I liked that the class introduced me to the kinds of challenges and tasks I may encounter later on in my career. Also, I was able to get a better idea of what the qualifications are to become an engineer beyond just earning the college credits,” Brown said. “Mr. Simino had no shortage of fun projects for us to work on. We started by learning to build simple circuits and making LEDs blink using Arduino code. By the end of the semester, we were working on robots that could navigate through a maze on their own.”

Brown would like to work with either NASA or SpaceX as an aerospace engineer.

Titus Gilbert of Hamptonville took EGR-150 in the Fall 2020. He is pursuing an Associate in Science at SCC. He was a homeschool student until beginning college classes.

“I liked learning about the wide range of topics relating to physics because it is very practical and learning more information about the engineering world, like how you get certified to be an engineer,” Gilbert said. “I especially enjoyed the class lab. We learned how to build circuits and how to program them. We made lights flash in patterns and buzzers to play music, and we even learned how to program a robot to move and navigate its environment.”

Gilbert plans to transfer to a four-year university to get a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering to become an engineer. He is applying at NC State and UNC Charlotte.

Registration for summer and fall classes at SCC will begin on April 12, for current students and April 19, for new students. If you need help with college application, class registration or financial aid, contact Student Services at (336) 386-3264 or

Want to Learn More?

Choosing a college is an important decision, and we’re pleased that you’re interested in Surry Community College.