Students pivot from robot competitions to creating 3D printed face shields for health care professionals through FIRST robotics teams.
The result? A lot of learning while supporting the community during COVID-19.
Advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is a critical focus for Lockheed Martin – one only exacerbated by the environment our students are living and learning in today. Through strong partnerships across the U.S. with organizations like FIRST, our team has been able to maintain support of students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Our Community
In March, over 50 FIRST teams were just passing inspection on the machines they built when the FIRST Robotics Competition Orlando Regional was canceled due to COVID-19. Since then FIRST teams across Florida have come together to focus their efforts on COVID relief. Three of those teams based in Central Florida – Oviedo High Robotics, Gra-V and the Robo-Knights –partnered with Lockheed Martin to produce 500 3D printed face shields donated to Orlando Health’s heroes.
“Orlando Health is incredibly grateful for the donations of 3D printed face shields created by students from FIRST robotics teams with supplies from Lockheed Martin,” said Jennifer Beakley, administrator of patient care for Orlando Regional Medical Center.
“Throughout our COVID-19 response we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our community partners, and it is incredibly special to receive these face shields from students in our community. These face shields will be utilized by our frontline clinical team members to provide protection while they care for our patients,” said Jennifer.
The students applied the knowledge and skills they’ve learned while competing in FIRST robotics competitions to produce the shields. Dylan Van Smith from the Oviedo High Robotics team said, “I expected to apply the skills I learned in robotics club to my college education and work experience. I never expected to use those skills so directly to help real people in the real world who are risking their lives for us every day.”
Ten robotics teams in nine counties, stretching from Tampa, Space Coast and South Florida, set a goal to produce 1,000 face shields. Lockheed Martin donated 35 rolls of 3D printer filament and 12 packs of clear sheets as well as mentored the students.
“These teams that we sponsor are incredibly resourceful and have an amazing drive to help their communities,” said Lockheed Martin Commercial Civil Space EXEL Program’s Barry Bohnsack.
Barry is leading the Florida-wide personal protective equipment effort as a FIRST mentor. “The FIRST students put their hearts and sweat to build robots that were ready to compete; however, their competition was canceled due to COVID-19. Producing these face shields is their way to stay involved in technology and give back at the same time.”
The high school students are currently in production with a projected 1,500 face shields to be donated to the areas surrounding 11 Lockheed Martin sites in Florida.
STEM education is a critical focus for Lockheed Martin. We know firsthand the importance of educating our young people in these areas. Our future success – and our nation’s technological advantage – depend on a constant supply of highly trained, highly capable technical talent.
To help address these challenges and strengthen the workforce pipeline, Lockheed Martin provides funding to STEM education outreach activities for students from elementary school through college. We are committed to supporting programs, events and campaigns that focus on student achievement, teacher development, and gender and ethnic diversity.