Ecorobotik… turning a dream into a reality!
This story begins in a stage in my life that I want to share with all of you. Which was very influenced by my dear maternal grandfather, José Rafael Gabaldón Márquez. He was a lawyer by profession, but a lover of nature and the Venezuelan countryside. He is one of my greatest references as an example to follow and to whom I will be deeply grateful for helping me become the person I am today.
My childhood developed in the city of Caracas, Venezuela. I lived with my mother Isabel, my older brother Roberto and my maternal grandparents. My father was absent in my life. Within the routine of our weekends, particularly on Sunday mornings, my grandfather would read the newspapers, El Universal and El Nacional and that could not be missed. He gladly shared his readings with my brother and me, emphasizing the articles that talked about science and the importance of environmental conservation.
Despite my young age, at that time my tastes and interests were in astronomy and how things worked. I was fascinated by the idea of being an astronomer and knowing space. I remember that when sharing this with my grandfather he always told me: “it is good to think about the universe and the stars, but without forgetting to preserve our home, which is the earth”.
That dynamic was present for many years. As time went by, my grandfather passed away and my life changed. My brother and I went through several moves of houses, schools, and even cities. All this happened from elementary school to high school. My grades were low, my average grade was a D. My mindset was at a stage where I’d only care enough just to pass.
Upon reaching the eighth grade, I ran into a math teacher doing mini-competitions. If we got the answers right in the shortest time possible, we would earn extra points. This activity, as simple as it may seem, helped me awaken in myself the idea that I could improve my school performance and take a new direction in my life.
I reflected on that experience and worked on bettering myself to make up for lost time. My summer that year was spent reading fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade math books and lessons to catch up on my academic debts. Now I laugh, but they were unforgettable months of a lot of studying.
As every effort always has its reward, my ninth grade came with better grades, confidence in myself, a change of vision; and since nothing can stop time, my fifteen springs also arrived.
By then, we had already been living in Barquisimeto for several years. My mother had to go on a trip and my brother had to go to study in Caracas, so I had to live alone for about five months. And since life is always preparing you for what is coming, that change in my performance towards responsibility and achievement of goals did not come for free.
Shortly after starting those five months, I had little to no food to eat. As I said before, I was alone, and also without money. My relatives were not aware, and I did not dare to ask for their help. One day I couldn’t handle the situation anymore and I talked about it with one of my teachers, to which she replied “… if you need money why don’t you give private math classes? So, at the end of the year you can also help students who have to go to summer school”. Immediately, I began to put it into action with the students of La Floresta school, and thus I managed to overcome another barrier. I got my first job and with it, my first payments to support myself.
This new activity led me to the next stage in my life. I no longer only taught because I was alone and needed to eat, because after a few months my mother returned. I discovered that I liked teaching and with that, I was able to use the money from that in order to pay for my meals.
Teaching began as a need that turned into a passion or a way to help, to prepare students to be better in their future, and to help the development of adolescents to be independent in life. I still clearly remember my first student, María Gabriela.
Time passed, I graduated from high school and helped many young people to graduate as well. Then I started studying Mechanical Engineering at UNEXPO in Barquisimeto, until the 6th semester.
In those six semesters a lot happened in my life. Among them, I became the girlfriend of an American recruiter who was dedicated to looking for talented baseball players in Venezuela, to play in the United States. The relationship grew, and it continued to the point of getting engaged, getting married, and moving to the United States.
While all this was happening, I postponed my studies in order to dedicate myself to my daughters, and at the same time adapt to living in a new country. After a few months, feeling more stable, I ended my studies in Venezuela to continue my career at Arizona State University.
I decided to continue my studies, but changing to a career that always disturbed me: Environmental Chemistry. In 2011, I graduated from ASU and started working at a charter school, teaching chemistry and biology. The following year I had the opportunity to coach a robotics club, in which I spent 6 years training students to reach state and national competitions.
After that long period in robotics, I thought about going back to my career, and I got a position in a vitamin company, in the quality control department. In the year I was there I learned a lot, both from a manufacturing company and from the need to train students in production processes.
I went back to teaching at a public school, where I continue to work as an engineering teacher. I also take students to competitions in the area and make them see the need for local production.
From this story arises my interest and my concern to link the love that my grandfather gave to me for the environment, my studies of environmental chemistry, my love for engineering, and my desire to continue educating new generations.
I spent many nights thinking about ideas in my head without actually concluding something tangible, but the only thing I had no doubt was that I would somehow develop that project. During that search, I decided to do a postgraduate degree in Information Technology Management at Grand Canyon University, to help me understand how to organize this project.
After a lot of thinking, dreaming, talking and visualizing a fusion between all these passions of my life, I decided to form a company that I called Ecorobotik. The name is derived from the two pillars of this endeavor: the conservation of the environment (Eco) through robotics (robotik).
Once I got the name for the project, I realized that I needed to build a team in order to move forward. To do this, I invited my great friend Liliana Wilson to be part of this initiative as my partner, and from then on we began to look for key people to be able to give shape to the idea.
Today, the team is made up of people who have been related to me at different stages and topics in my life and who were immediately enthusiastic about the project and its mission. These people believed in me, and have given their contribution so that today I can tell this story from the Ecorobotik website, and with the first competition already developed.
The people who have made Ecorobotik possible, and to whom I am grateful are: my husband Carlos, and my daughters Adriana and Nicole, for their unconditional daily support; Breanna Quick and Austin Armstrong as coaches in Phoenix; Lienmayella Monasterio from Argentina in the creation of the web; Wilmer Morales and Corina Madera from Venezuela, as volunteers for social networks; Florinda Pargas as business advisor and Viviana supporting the development of robotics lessons for competitions (both from Colombia); María Antonia Gabaldón as legal advisor from Germany; Vladimiro Mujica as a mentor from Phoenix. We also have the support of the Fuerza Local incubator since August 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona.
This story called Ecorobotik does not end here. On the contrary, it is only the beginning. I want to invite you to be a part of it, creating a community through social networks in order to reach the greatest number of young people and inspire them to educate themselves, to build with purpose, love science and conserve the environment, because as my grandfather said: “The earth is our home.”
EcoRobotik as a company and brand represents technological and sustainable education to face the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, accompanying young people to build a more sustainable and sustainable future.
If you made it this far, I hope you have enjoyed this story and that you can feel like us, that we are all builders of the future, and that we can all contribute to the development of our communities so that they are better every day. The question is: What are you capable of doing to become the builder of the future?