Our team had the privilege to speak with our city’s mayor, Jerry Wilkins, to introduce the idea of a Mayor’s Youth Council. He toured our STEM Lab and Build facility. We introduced him to F.I.R.S.T. Inspires ideology and our teams Initiative. After meeting with him he is thrilled to see the initiative of the young minds of his town and gave us a green light to draft a presentation to create a Mayor’s Youth Council. With the Mayor’s Youth Council the youth of our community will have the opportunity to learn how their local government operates. This council will prepare and educate our future leaders. Through our initiative we are paving the way for STEM and creating the next generation of leaders.
Our team gratefully received a private tour of Fort Smith’s new Osteopathic Medical College by some of the admission staff members. While on the tour, we were given the opportunity to open up some of their mechanical medical mannequins and make relations with parts and structures our robot uses in correlation with their high tech robotic mannequins used for learning. Our team blew their minds when we showed them our 150 pound robot, which definitely wasn’t the tiny robot they were expecting to see roll through their doors that day. They were amazed to see that the same technology they were using inside their mannequins to prepare their students for the future, we were using to make these big bots to complete very different tasks. While they have professors standing behind one way glass controlling mannequins with detectable heart beats and pulses and a chest that is able to rise and fall to simulate various breathing patterns, we stand in alliance stations with other teams and control strong, rigorous robots we have built that can do things such as pick up ball and gears, shoot balls, hook gears on little pegs, and even climb ropes. We are thankful we had the exciting chance to learn how robotics can be used in areas outside of mechanically and/or electrically inclined careers. It was interesting seeing how you can use robotics in the medical field without just peering into human bodies. Instead, we got see how robots can be used to prepare medical students for interacting with patients and saving lives.
A portion of our team traveled to Dover, a neighboring town, to introduce the prospective principal and students to the world of FIRST Robotics. Lexi and Chandler displayed our robot and its capabilities to the potential FIRST students. Our representatives informed the students how the FRC program has inspired them as students and individuals beyond just the FIRST Robotics organization. We plan on assisting with the start up of a robotics program in their community. Our goal was to inspire them as we have been inspired. We shared with them our team model and the message that FIRST is more than just building a robot. We hope that through our efforts Dover will be able to capture the undiscovered and underprivileged STEAM superstars that are walking the halls of their schools searching for a creative outlet for their unused talents. Our team shared with them the world that is opened up to teams through the FIRST INSPIRES organization.
The Team visited NASA – Johnson Space center in Houston. NASA is a major sponsor of our team this year. We are so thankful to FIRST. FIRST is the vehicle that has allowed every kid (and Mentor) to visit NASA. We had an awesome time and are very thankful for this opportunity and partnership.
In 2016 Team 5437 presented to the school board to implement a College Concurrent Credit Robotics class through the University of Arkansas Fort Smith. Upon approval the school has started this class, where students receive on hands learning with ABB robots, soldering circuit boards, and other fundamentals of electronics.
Team 5437 sought out to inspire the minds of the younger generation by starting a FLL team. The team presented the idea to the school board with the help of interested mentors, and soon 2 FLL teams were approved. Team 5437 members have dedicated their time to mentor the rookie FLL Teams.
Our team had the opportunity to have a personal meeting with our states Governor Asa Hutchinson. The Governor was very impressed with our Team and our message. Here is what he tweeted: @AsaHutchinson Team 5437 Tweet. While we spoke with the Governor we were able to lobby for funding allocated for STEM in Arkansas, and the bill later passed. We consider ourselves very humbled and blessed for this oppourtunity!