Guest Blogger: Laura Bucci, MIT Alumni Association
Want to see the future of robotics? The 2014 World Championships for US FIRST (For Inspirational and Recognition of Science and Technology) is the place to be for the MIT community—past, present, and future.
Because of the partnership between FIRST and the MIT Alumni Association, a group including Alumni Association staff, the Association’s K-12 STEM Education Working group volunteers, and Admissions officers traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, for the fifth year to meet up with MIT prefrosh, faculty, and alumni, who attended as parents and mentors. With more than 400 teams comprised of some 12,000 students, the energy was high and the pits were packed.
One competitor was Laura Treers ’18, an MIT prefrosh, who has been involved in FIRST for a couple years.
“FIRST has taught me how to think more creatively and how to use the resources I have to solve real-world problems,” says Treers, who heads FTC team 4107, the MohonBots. “As the captain of my team, I've learned how to be an effective leader and how to better communicate with others.”
Along with her team, she extends the reach of FIRST by hosting weekly robotics and programming classes for elementary students was well as other community demonstrations. During a break, she was able to grab a picture of herself and MIT professor emeritus Woodie Flowers SM ’68, ME ’71, PhD ’73, national advisor to FIRST and an icon in these circles. Later, both of them attended the MIT Alumni Association Admitted Student and Alumni reception to hear a talk by Professor David Wallace SM ’92, PhD ’95.
In addition to students, FIRST engages hundreds of mentors. One mentor, Roy Mathieu ‘81, from FRC 38 of Rochester Hills, Michigan, has served as a mentor on his son’s team for years. He says it allows them to spend time together, give back to the community, and increase others’ knowledge about STEM.
- Want to get your community or family involved in FIRST? To join the K-12 STEM Alumni Network and volunteer for FIRST.
- For more photographs of the event, visit the MIT K-12 STEM Education Alumni Network Facebook page