Every year, First Robotics Founder (and famous inventor) Dean Kamen adds to the challenge by putting forth a special homework assignment.
At the 2013 Inaugural Crossroads Regional in Terre Haute, Indiana, the team had the opportunity to listen to Dean Kamen address the crowd at the awards ceremonies on Friday April 5th. Dean spoke about the problems facing our world and how this future generation of innovators and problem solvers will be the ones to solve these: hunger, drought, environment and climate change; all these problems are daunting tasks but the groundwork laid by STEM education and FIRST involvement will drive successful solutions.
He challenged the teams to bring diversity into FIRST as his homework this year. He mentioned how there are pockets of diversity within the organization – all girls teams, teams from different socioeconomic strata and geographic locations, teams that are diverse as a team. However, we need to work on incorporating diversity as a part of every single team. FIRST Team 2202 is taking this to heart and will be executing a Girls in Engineering outreach program this summer at our local library, as well as reaching out to teams such as 4256 to gain some insight on how they attract more girls to their program.
In 2012, Dean has asked us to focus on FIRST and branding. During 2012’s Kick-off, Dean said FIRST will be the future. For many of the students involved, this is extremely true. FIRST will play a role in their college application process, their choice of career path, and eventually their job interviews and work. The students are challenged to incorporate FIRST into everyday life: it’s not just robotics, it’s FIRST robotics. We’re not team 2202, we’re FIRST team 2202. Dean also challenged the teams to display FIRST prominently, as a brand, on our robot at the competition. Come see us at the US Cellular Arena to see what we’re doing!
Another aspect of the homework is to follow the alumni and see where they’ve gone. FIRST Team 2202 contacted our alumni and created a new space dedicated to them on our website. This page shows a map of where they’ve branched out to across the United States and offers a list of testimonials about where their lives are currently, how FIRST Robotics helped get them to where they are, and what they’ve learned along the way. One of our alumni even had a job interview with a previous FIRST mentor! It’s a small FIRST world out there!
The last part of the homework includes awards and recognition of students, especially our Juniors, because a FIRST award speaks volumes on a college application. FIRST Team 2202 is hard at work recognizing our industrious team members.
For more information about Dean’s homework, visit the FIRST Forums.