By Lisa Halvorsen
For 17-year-old Henry Kasulka of East Montpelier, attending a robotics world championship became more than just a way to connect with tech-minded peers and observe state-of-the-art robots in action. It also offered a chance to network with innovative tech experts and land a summer opportunity with a prestigious tech company.
Kasulka starts work at Beta Technologies in South Burlington on June 27. He was accepted into the High School Job Shadow program after connecting with CEO and founder Kyle Clark at the 2022 FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship in Houston, Texas, in April.
Kasulka was selected as one of two state finalists for the FIRST Tech Challenge Dean’s List Award, earning him a trip to the world championships. The award is presented by the Dean Kamen family to a select number of outstanding sophomores and juniors each year to recognize their leadership abilities, technical expertise, and accomplishments in robotics.
Kasulka has taken part in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics for nine years. His current robotics program, FIRST Tech Challenge, is managed by University of Vermont College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences with support from UVM Extension 4-H.
He founded his own team, Bubbert Innovations, two years ago at U-32 Middle and High School, where he just finished his junior year. He’s also completed an internship with Palo Alto-based Inspirit AI, an organization dedicated to teaching high school students around the globe about the importance of AI and how to create it.
So it’s no surprise that his passion, experience, and expertise in technology impressed Kyle Clark, a presenter at the Dean’s List Awards ceremony.
Although passionate about robotics, that’s not Kasulka’s only interest. He currently competes on his high school’s math team and in shot put, javelin, and discus on the track team. He also is active with his school’s Stage 32 Theater, handling lighting, sound, and videography.
Next year he will take part in Vermont’s Early College program at Norwich University to study electrical engineering. He plans to major in computer engineering with the end goal of specializing in robotic technology. But Kasulka has one more immediate goal: That is to take his team to the world championships next year.
Lisa Halvorsen is a freelance writer for University of Vermont Extension.