Ian Kinney ’17: Engineering His Future


Emily Orr

Ian Kinney ’17 spends a great deal of his time working in the Makerspace.

Ian Kinney has been a part of the Darlington community for over 14 years and as a “Dar-Baby”, he finds his transition from middle school to upper school has been formative and

“In middle school, we had a set schedule all the time and not a lot of free time, and then at the very beginning of freshman year, you get to experience the change of having free time during the day and being more responsible for your classes. As you go through high school, you get to figure out life. You start driving and all of that. My best experience at Darlington has been the whole high school experience,” Kinney said. 

Kinney spends the majority of his free time working in the Makerspace, a place where any idea is brought to life.

“We actually started it [the Makerspace] my freshman year at Darlington because we wanted a place and they were taking down the old computer lab up here, so we took all the computers out and put tools and stuff in there for people to build robots. We actually just finished building a computer and we’re working on a solar powered glider, which is really cool,” Kinney said. 

Ian’s father, Owen, is the current Science Department Chair and has taught at the Upper School since 1999. Ian has been taught by his father in the past and is under his instruction in the Makerspace, as well.

“I thought it would be really awkward at first as I moved up here during my freshman year. I was really embarrassed, but now he’s really good a separating his work from his home life, so here I can talk to him as my teacher and my adviser in the Makerspace and we can work together on problems without having an awkward father-son complex going on.”

The connections Ian has made through robotics have lent themselves to not only friendship, but also his career goals.

“I’ve made a lot of connections through robotics. When you go to these robotic competitions, you meet people from Georgia Tech, UGA, LSU, Auburn, and all kinds of places. And I’ve also met people in the Naval Academy. All of these people are looking for engineers and that’s usually where they go to look for them, at these robotics competitions,” Kinney said. 

Kinney went on to say, “I’ve made a lot of friends that are international students and are very interested in robotics. One of my best friends, Moana, is from Japan and is living in Hawaii right now. She used to be a part of the robotics program and we still talk even though she graduated two years ago.”

Kinney’s future aspirations include finding a way to mix his two interests: engineering and business.

“At first I wanted to pursue engineering, but now I kind of want to follow more of a business and technology track, where I design products that are technology-based and I sell them. I like the engineering aspect, but I’m not that great at math and I feel like that’s a big part of being an engineer, so going through all of those college math courses would be very stressful for me. I’m looking at either UGA or Georgia Tech right now. Georgia Tech has a great minor in business and I could get a masters in Electrical Engineering,” Kinney said.