DENVER (CBS4) – CBS4, along with Colorado School of Mines and PDC Energy, honors high school students who are exceling in science, technology, engineering, or math, STEM. A Future Leaders winner gets $1,000 and a profile on CBS4.

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Jared Hodison is the newest Future Leaders winner. He’s a senior at Abraham Lincoln High School, a leader on the robotic team, and an advocate for cultural acceptance.

Hodison and the Lincoln High robotics team won 3rd in the regional BEST Robotics Competition last year. They also picked up a Most Robust Machine trophy. The robot had to be able to pick up ropes and hang them on a cable.

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“There was a lot that went into it. It was a very fun process,” Hodison said.

Now the team is working on a new machine, another competition. Hodison brings the same dedication to robotics that he does to all his activities.

“Whenever I go home, I try to study and just get better at doing all the robotics stuff, as well, because if you don’t put any work in on your own time, you’re not really going to be good at what you want to do,” Hodison told CBS4.

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He’s proud of his Native American Heritage. When he saw small cultural slights happening in the classroom, Hodison stepped up against those microaggressions.

“People might talk to you a certain way, not really disrespecting, but not really understanding the culture that you might have, and for me that is Native American.”

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“Jared, tell me what you want others to know about cultural misunderstandings in the classroom,” asked CBS4’s Ashton Altieri.

“It’s more just about educating them, and trying to make sure they’re more knowledgeable about your culture,” he responded.

Hodison took part in a teacher training on “Native Americans in the Classroom” at Lincoln High School. He, and some classmates, also spoke at a national STEM conference about “Indigenous Methods for Addressing Microaggressions.”

LINK: Nominate a Student for Future Leaders

Now that he’s a senior, he’s looking to the future.

“When I leave Lincoln, I plan to go to college,” Hodison said.

He’s set his sights on Colorado State University.

“What I want to study is either biochem or mechanical engineering,” he explained. “But I want to get my prerequisites so I can go to med school and become an anesthesiologist.”

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