Spotlight: Club helps Lilly Cheldelin explore technology

Lilly Cheldelin enjoyed the Creators and Innovators Club at Kulshan Middle School.
Lilly Cheldelin enjoyed the Creators and Innovators Club at Kulshan Middle School. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

It was the little examples during the pitch for the robotics club at school assembly that captured Lilly Cheldelin’s interest.

“They talked about how a 16-year-old girl made a wheelchair for someone who couldn’t move,” she said. “And how girls have the potential to be inventors and express things through technology they couldn’t express another way.”

Cheldelin, 12, and several dozen other girls spent their afternoons at The Creators and Innovators Club at Kulshan Middle School last winter and spring.

Kulshan parent and software developer Sydney Cole launched the club. Cheldelin was one of 60 girls – one-sixth of the female population at Kulshan Middle School – to join.

Cheldelin, a sixth-grader, had always focused her own interest on natural sciences.

“My dream job is a paleontologist,” she said.

She has raised tadpoles, makes slides for her microscope from things she finds in nature, and studies insects.

“I love to investigate things, study things and see the wonder of things up close,” she said.

The club introduced her to another whole side of science – technology.

For a final project, Cheldelin and several other students created a robot/butler – a “Butlerbot” that could bring its owner pieces of candy.

Even though the club concluded for this school year, she has found ways to keep her knowledge growing with online computer coding programs and robotic toys that can be controlled through her iPhone. She says it’s just in her nature to keep exploring science and technology on her own, and wants to design her own app. She plans to join the club again this year.

“I can’t sit still. I’m always fiddling with things,” she said. “I never thought designing a robot would be fun too. It’s one of the most amazing experiences I ever had.”


Spotlight shines on children 12 or younger who excel in arts or education, and shares how their parents helped them achieve success.

To suggest a child to profile, send their name and a brief description of their accomplishments, along with a parent’s name and contact information, to newsroom@bellinghamherald.com.