Get Ready to Brag Your Bot
National Engineers Week is here - and Lockheed Martin has partnered with For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) teams to help influence the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) leaders.
FIRST was founded in 1989 and focuses primarily on creating STEM engagement opportunities for students in elementary, middle and high school. The FIRST programs are split into four levels and the STEM objectives and goals become more difficult as the levels increase.
- The First LEGO League Jr. challenges elementary students in teams of up to six kids, to explore a real-world scientific concept and then build a motorized LEGO model that demonstrates their discovery
- The First LEGO League inspires elementary and middle school students in teams of up to 10 kids to apply STEM concepts to a real-world challenge. They also build, program and design LEGO based robots to perform certain tasks
- The First Tech Challenge (FTC) is geared towards middle and high school students with teams of 10 or more members that build, program, design and operate robots to play a floor game against other teams
- The First Robotics Competition (FRC) is a team composed of 25 or more high school students that build and program robotics to perform challenging tasks against competitors
Lockheed Martin FIRST mentor, Scott Moelling, supports the Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA) middle and high school FTC teams. During his three years in mentorship he has provided engineering guidance and industry perspective to the young ladies. The YWLA team started with seven team members last year. This year his group has increased to 17 students and split into two teams.
“I’m excited to see the growing interest in robotics at this school,” Moelling stated.
YWLA high school juniors and seniors visited Lockheed Martin on Feb. 15 to brag on their bots and share their experiences on being an FTC participant. Senior, Eunice Cardona, has been on the FTC team since it was founded two years ago.
“Being involved in our team has not only made me more passionate about STEM, it’s opened up the world of programming and robotics to me,” Cardona commented.
The YWLA teams recently earned the coveted first place Inspire Award, which is the highest award of the competition. They will participate in the FTC Regionals on Feb. 23.
Lockheed Martin Impact
The Lockheed Martin FIRST mentors encourage FRC and FTC participants to be completely hands on with STEM and find ways to promote the objectives in their community. The students are involved in STEM outreach, which gives them the opportunity to mentor younger students and create new robotics teams.
To Moelling, STEM outreach is one of the most rewarding parts of his mentor experience. “They are taking ownership to build up the next generation after them,” he said. Being involved on the teams enhances the participants’ team building skills and increases their overall STEM knowledge while building self-confidence. Moelling has inspired some young ladies on his FTC team to further their careers in STEM.
Middle school student, Alexandra Ordaz shared, “Mr. Scott has definitely helped me further my career in STEM by teaching me about programming and engineering especially the basics and now with his help I can say that my knowledge has grown.”
This will also be the first year that FTC team members will graduate from high school and all the graduating seniors under Moelling’s mentorship are going into STEM related fields.
“Many times I think I learn more from the students than they learn from me. Working with them keeps me young and connected to an amazing generation with great potential,” he added.