2020 Grant Recipients

Dear Friends and Supporters,

On behalf of the Board, the Foundation, and the Programming Committee, we’re very excited to announce our 2020 grant recipients! We thank the Board and the members of the Programming Committee for volunteering their time, reviewing all of the applications, and for voting on the grants.

Below are the 24 grant recipients, in no particular order, together with a synopsis of their grant request. From left to right you will see in their own words the description of their project, the project goal, and how they believe the community will benefit.

Thank you to all who applied and to those of you who continue to support the efforts of The No Starch Press Foundation.

And congratulations to the recipients of this round of granting!

Project Name Brief Project Description
Project Goals Community Benefit
ALCRE: Advance Learning in Computing and Robotics among female Engineers ALCRE (Advance Learning in Computing and Robotics among female Engineers) will implement activities to increase the recruitment, retention and graduation of female engineering students through a network that includes undergraduate engagement, plus academic and professional support. We will expose students to female role models including alumnae, faculty and peers who demonstrate a positive contribution to society through computing and robotics. We will use a model that takes advantage of the resources we have in place, such as our communication network with alumnae and access to female engineering faculty, to create effective professional experiences that will offer support and an increased sense of belonging to our female engineering students. Events and sessions will be held that drive innovation and illustrate how to improve computer security and robotics. Female engineering students within computer engineering and mechanical engineering will be the participants for ALCRE. The goal for the program is to recruit, retain and graduate more females in the field of computing and robotics to contribute to society. The Cal Poly Pomona Women in Engineering (CPP WE) program was established in 2012 as a Dean’s Office initiative to provide young women the resources and supportive services to succeed in engineering. CPP WE serves female undergraduate and graduate students and faculty in the College of Engineering. CPP WE focuses on recruitment and retention efforts, as well as overall environment enhancement programs. CPP WE is open to all College of Engineering students and membership is not required.

Overall CPP Engineering undergraduate female enrollment has increased from 13% in 2012 (when CPP WE was founded) to 20% in 2019. In order to make further strides in increasing female engineering enrollment and persistence, we are proposing to implement a series of events to provide students with an increased sense of belonging and an increased awareness of how the engineering profession is useful within computing and robotics and makes positive impacts to society.

The ALCRE Program intends to increase recruitment and retention rates through the establishment of a series of events and sessions that will incorporate the following stakeholders: engineering faculty, engineering alumnae, female undergraduate engineering students, and recognized industry leaders.

The following are the program goals and objectives:
1.Create an academic and social supportive network for female engineering students.
2.Increase awareness of how engineers drive innovation.
3.Increase career and internship opportunities for female engineering students in computing and robotics.
4. Increase recruitment, retention and graduation of female engineering students by fostering a supportive community and enriching their experiences within the College of Engineering.

These objectives will be evaluated using a quantitative research design. Data collection will consist of pretest and posttest surveys, in addition to satisfaction surveys after each event. With this data, it will be analyzed to address if the objectives for this project were achieved. Quantitative data will include descriptive statistics (characteristics of ALCRE participants) and inferential statistics (pretest and posttest survey). To maintain the confidentiality of participants, the analysis of all data will be presented in aggregate and first-hand accounts will be unidentified.

The CPP College of Engineering is one of the largest and most diverse in the nation. Currently, there are 1,200 female engineering students (21% of total engineering enrollment) enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona. Engineering student diversity is comprised of 23% Asian/Pacific Islander; 3% Black/African American; 39% Hispanic/Latino; 20% White; <1% American Indian/Alaskan Native; 4% Two or More; 7% Non-Resident Alien; and 3% Unknown. With the requested funding, CPP WE is well-positioned to make a large and positive impact on the future diversity of the engineering workforce within computing and robotics.
Rural Technology Fund The mission of the RTF is to help rural students recognize opportunities in technology careers and gain the education necessary to work in the computer industry. For this project, the grant will help us continue our work of funding classroom technology projects in rural and impoverished areas. Our goal is to fund technology education projects in rural areas. By providing things like robotics kids, 3D printers, and makerspace equipment, we help teachers introduce kids to the potential of technology careers. We measure our success in the number of students we’ve introduced to technology. As of now, that is over 100K kids over the course of 12 years. We will use these funds to select rural communities around the country who meet our project guidelines here: https://ruraltechfund.org/fundmyproject/.
The 2nd Rebellion Robotics Last season, we participated in the FTC season called “Skystone” and won multiple awards. During the season, we won the Inspire 2nd Runner Up, Think, and Promote Awards, as well as the Finalist Alliance 1st Pick, all of which helped us advance to the FTC Los Angeles Regional Championships on March 7th. We also performed very well at the Championships and received 2nd Runner Up in Innovate and Promote Awards.

We were able to spread our love of robotics at over 20 outreach events and reached over 2000 people in our community this past season.

In the 2020-2021 school year, our team decided that our goals were to:
Increase collaboration with other local FIRST teams
CAD the robot/plan everything out
Increase connections with local businesses, students, and mentors
Reach Playoffs during ILT
Have full documentation of team progress
Have a season that we are all proud of
We thrive to educate the future generation, by bringing expertise in science and technology, which we achieve by:
-Gaining Expertise, which we gain information from specialists in all industries to further our vision as a robotics team.
-Broad outreach, helping students get a glimpse of how robotics can affect the world.
-Personal connections, involving relations to help improve students in and out of our team.
Yellow Giraffes Robotics Team Storybook Robotics The Yellow Giraffes Robotics team consists of four kids who are all four years old. The team formed because these kids were sad that their older brothers and sisters get to be on robotics teams but they were too young. The team has met (in-person or virtually) every Sunday for the last 16 months. During their in-person meetings they built robots, learned to code and solved engineering challenges. When we had to move to Zoom meetings, they started practicing coding via the Code.org Pre-reader curriculum and solved engineering challenges with household supplies. For instance, they built boats out of foil and experimented with ways to make the boats hold more rocks before they sink. This team has big goals of someday going to the Robotics World Championships, just like their big brothers and sisters. But it will be another 3.5 years before they are old enough to do that.
The Yellow Giraffes Robotics team has already had big successes as a team. Last February they were invited to the State Capital to demonstrate their robotics and programming skills for the Governor as a part of a push to have more STEM education in Preschools.
The goal of the Yellow Giraffes Robotics Team is to teach very young kids to love Math, Science, Programming and Engineering. We are building the next generation of critical and imaginative thinkers. By starting with a young group, we are taking advantage of their natural curiosity and enthusiasm to develop confidence and skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Between now and June we plan to complete 20 robotics and STEM challenges.
This work leads up to the team’s big goal of being invited to the Robotics World Championships in 2025 when they meet the age minimum of 8 years old.
When public libraries re-open we plan to host “Robotics for preschoolers” events where parents can bring their kids and learn how to make robotics fun and engaging for kids ages 3-5. We plan to show off all of the fun activities that Yellow Giraffes robotics team has done so that parents can see how to do the activities with their own kids.

The community gains four kids who are passionate and capable problem solvers. The long-term benefit is enormous as these kids take their skills into the real world to solve societies big problems.
In the short term, the community gains a model for parents to learn how to engage and teach their young kids programming, engineering and robotics at home.
Secure Development, Simplified! Secure development is a difficult thing to do. For each type of application, language, and architecture, there is always an endless number of things to consider. And even one configuration mistake can be deadly. Developers employ different techniques to ensure that the software they develop is hard to attack. They read documentation about security best practices. They use static and dynamic scanners to sniff out vulnerabilities before their software is deployed. But still, developing secure software is no easy feat. Documentation tends to be incomplete or difficult to understand. Static and dynamic scanner output often requires highly specialized security knowledge to interpret.

The technical community needs a source of knowledge that educates developers about the fundamentals of secure development. My project, “Secure Development, Simplified!” is a series of short videos that educate viewers about the most common secure development best practices and pitfalls. These videos will target developers with limited security knowledge. Viewers will learn the basics of building and maintaining secure software without reading highly technical documentation and blog posts. The goal is to make learning secure development fun, engaging, and approachable. I will discuss standard best practices, how to implement them, and how to identify problematic configurations. This project will supplement documentation, scanner output, and implementation guides to bridge the knowledge gap between developers and security engineers.

My project aims to educate developers about the most fundamental security topics, such as proper input validation, secure deserialization, and the principle of least privileges. I will also cover the most common vulnerabilities and how to prevent them. This project will encourage developers to become more security aware and actively recognize security issues in their development processes.
I will produce a video per week on subjects related to secure development. This project will be a long term project. I currently have more than 20 videos planned and scripted. I plan to produce 50 to 100 videos in total. The end result of this project would be a series of beginner-friendly tutorials about secure software development. For example, I will discuss the dos and don’ts of implementing security regexes for different purposes. I will also routinely ask for feedback among viewers for new and important topics I should include.
You can view the videos that I have already produced here. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjQHiY2JeOkBamHSg_6UeFw
My project will benefit developers who are new to security and computer science students looking to broaden their horizons and perfect their craft.
The community needs a source of security information that is simple, non-intimidating, and easy to digest. I am a security researcher with a web development background, so I understand the bottleneck that goes between simply developing software and developing secure software.
I will break down security concepts and I will educate developers about the security risks and best practices during each part of the development process. I will also continually strive to improve my delivery skills so that my content becomes a good source of information for builders from various technical backgrounds.
Bruinbots #13599 FTC team We are an FTC(First Tech Challenge) team in Northern VA. First Tech Challenge is a robotics competition that engages the youth in engineering and robotics. Our team consists of 2 Middle schoolers and 5 High schoolers who are all aspiring scientists, especially in the field of CS. We’ve made it to the State level 2 out of the 4 years we’ve been competing. This year we were starting to look like we would do better than we’ve ever done, but due to COVID-19 sponsorships have been difficult to get sponsorships. Our goal is to make it to states and place in the top of states and possibly even make it to worlds. If we continue to preform as we have been, then we will most likely make to states. Our team not only competes, but this year we plan on engaging the community with coding and cad online workshops. Our community doesn’t have the highest STEM concentration so we plan on highly engaging our community through these workshops and possibly even letting people see and test our robot — if COVID-19 starts to decrease.
Scientific Sense Scientific Sense ® is a daily podcast focused on Science, Economics, Technology and Policy. We talk with the world’s leading academics about their research and emerging ideas in a variety of domains. The conversation is unstructured and unscripted. Over the last 180 days we have created 130 episodes. The guests are typically professors from major academic institutions. We take technical content and make it easily accessible and digestible for the general public. Current audience includes students, academics, and general public with ages ranging from 18-75. They come from over 100 countries worldwide and all 50 states of the US. The content is freely available to anyone over a dozen platforms with detailed description of the items discussed as well as the background of guests. The content is also made available in video format over YouTube even though only the audio is available. Our primary goal is to improve the scientific understanding of general public worldwide and enhance the desire of students to participate in STEM related education and activities. Our secondary goal is to foster innovation at the boundaries of various domains by combining knowledge from specialized fields. General public with a focus on students.
Englewood Design Lab The Englewood Design Lab is summer program for teens at Englewood STEM High School designed to introduce participants to the fields of architecture and urban design. The program utilizes the Chicago Architecture Center’s No Small Plans graphic novel to draw students in to the concept of improving urban spaces. Students utilize Pocket City (mobile application) and Cities: Skylines (computer game) to learn the basic tenets of urban planning. Students use drone technology to learn coding principles and visualize local urban spaces. They use TinkerCAD programing to digitally design their spaces while developing an understanding of principles of computer-aided design. Teams of participants develop a plan for community improvement, and they create a proposal and presentation of the plan and pitch their ideas to community members and government officials. Teams focus their presentation on obtaining funding for their projects, which integrates real-world expectations into the experience. Throughout the process, concepts related to civic engagement are incorporated into conversations in order to root participants’ work in the real world and improve their long-term attitudes towards civic participation. The goal of Englewood Design Lab is to introduce students to concepts related to architecture, urban design, and community development and empower them to design community improvements in the future. The goal will be measured through the final presentations that students develop. This will result in a pitch that involves a slideshow, speech, design plans, and video (utilizing drone footage) of the space students are designing. This project will benefit the young people participating in the program and the community at large. Through the integration of guest speakers and case studies of organizations and businesses in the community, students will learn about assets in their neighborhood. Furthermore, the plans they develop will further intergenerational connections between students and adults. This project will build social capital between students and adults, and lead to long-term positive relationships among community members.
STEM learning without Internet via open source Kolibri Learning Platform Learning Equality is a non-profit organization based in the United States that develops, maintains, and supports Kolibri, an adaptable end-to-end product ecosystem of open-source tools, content, and do-it-yourself support materials, designed for offline teaching and learning. It is centered around a learning platform that is designed primarily for use without the Internet, yet it provides robust functionality to support personalized and differentiated learning that is typically only available in online learning environments. One unique aspect of this ecosystem is that the learning platform supports a variety of file types for learning resources, ranging from PDFs to share lesson plans, videos to demonstrate concepts, exercises for self-assessment, and HTML5 files for interactive exploration. For STEM, this is particularly relevant in lower resource learning environments, where the type of equipment needed for science experiments or building of tools for engineering may not be prevalent, but can be experienced through the use of Kolibri. Kolibri supports a variety of STEM learning resources such as PhET interactive science simulations, Blockly games for computer science concepts, Khan Academy videos and exercises, CSpathshala videos about computational models, Goalkicker Tech Books from Stack Overflow Documentation project, Career Girls videos emphasizing career guidance for girls in STEM, and more.

This project has two aims: (1) focus on making robotics and programming learning materials more readily available to learners without the Internet from RobotWits, Scratch and Raspberry Pi Foundation; and (2) collect data from a STEM initiative in Pennsylvania to inform the continued development of what materials are offered via Kolibri and to demonstrate the effectiveness of this comprehensive offering. These activities enable Learning Equality to continue supporting a completely organic adoption model to using Kolibri, particularly for STEM learners in the U.S. and globally in the 200+ countries and territories where Kolibri is currently being used.

The aim of this project is to increase access to innovative STEM learning materials focused on robotics and/or computer programming for use in a robust learning platform that does not require the Internet. It is the intention that consistent access to these materials, in environments where Internet connectivity could otherwise be a barrier, will enable acquisition of targeted learning concepts available through these materials. This will be measured by reviewing the data logs captured in the learning platform and synced to Learning Equality’s Kolibri Data Portal, a central online platform for aggregation and exploration of Kolibri learner data, to guide and support implementations involving installation of Kolibri across multiple sites, to ensure that materials have been completed. At the end of this project, we should expect to see an increase in the robotics and/or computer programming materials available in Kolibri, and evidence of engagement with these materials by learners in Pennsylvania. This project will directly benefit learners across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through an initiative to support at-home learning during the pandemic where more than 1,060 learners are receiving Raspberry Pis pre-loaded with Kolibri and relevant materials for use at home, which is later synced to a central server across different intermediary units to track learner progress, and to receive updated content. Learning Equality is supporting TIU-11 which is leading this initiative by helping to make relevant STEM materials for use in Kolibri available to support this project, as well as one where learners will be using Kolibri on Raspberry Pis to understand drone engineering. Learning Equality is also providing early access to its Kolibri Data Portal which will enable TIU-11 to more readily collect and use its data.

More generally, Kolibri is specifically focused on equity as it is designed with contextual considerations for the particular learning environments where the most marginalized learn. We’ve always focused on boosting learning outcomes in some of the world’s most challenging contexts, supporting disconnected learning in refugee camps, rural schools, orphanages, and out-of-school programs. Beyond this initial target beneficiary group, we are enabling access to a wider collection of STEM materials to Kolibri users globally.

Self Perpetuating Robotics/EE/Manufacturing Labs (pre-K thru high school) Labs will be outfitted with CNC routers, components, software & training necessary for students to build their own Arduinos & prototypes. Additional hardware includes QuestBotics teaching tools for mathematics & programming skill development

Skills include basic electrical engineering, printed circuit board design, mathematics, intro to computer programming & the creative design process. Teachers will be given training on a wide variety of educational tools & techniques as well as support during the two years. Tools & materials will be professionally sourced to ensure cost effectiveness. Initial efforts will focus in the Boston Public Schools & Westport MA.
The Massachusetts towns of Dartmouth & New Bedford will be invited to attend trainings in Westport. If matching funds from alternative sources or stretch goal funding are available these two towns will also receive hardware.

Stretch goal 1: Hardware for Dartmouth & New Bedford.

Stretch goal 2: Hardware & training for Ugandan organizations Fundi Bots & Nyaka AIDS Orphanage Foundation. (Matching funds for this effort are currently available.)

Two classrooms or more equipped with the tools necessary for students to build their own microcontrollers & begin prototyping. Measurement of success will be functional microcontrollers created by students & understanding of how the components interact with each other.

Metrics for students will include:
•number of students
•how many of the students were able to create microcontrollers
•their understanding of each component on the microcontroller as explained in an informal interview
•understanding of how this technology might apply to other subjects (STEM, humanities & arts)

Metrics for teachers will include:
•ability to repair the tools in their classroom
•how many additional related classes their school offers as supportive or next step classes
•the age ranges they allow into all related classes
•abilities to re-order low cost parts/tools to facilitate continued education and potentially expand their offerings
•comfort level with creating their own additional curriculum from free or low-cost sources

Metrics will be measured through a pre & post survey for students, teachers & admin.

These communities already have resources for technology education. This effort will provide a new horizon & the teachers of the communities themselves will decide the exact format of education. Tech Teachers Travel will be responsible only for training, hardware delivery, teacher support & evaluation as relates to our metrics.

The end result will be a minimum of two communities with self sustaining technology classrooms that are capable of teach electrical engineering, microcontroller programming, computer programming, mathematics, creative prototyping & introductory electronics fabrication. (CNCs are also capable of carving a variety of other materials for mechanical, molding & artistic purposes) Student ages will begin at the pre-K level with QuestBotics, concepts will include skills that are currently considered post-graduate level technology. Further focus will depend on the wants & needs of the local community. (For example, Westport may want to focus further on farm automation as there is an active farming community. Boston Public Schools may want to focus on creative pollution solutions and/or prevention as they are located in a major metropolis.) All communities & students will be encouraged to use the CNC machines to create additional teaching tools for younger ages.

Eventually these seed communities will also be capable of building additional CNC routers to gift to other organizations in their communities & nearby, thereby creating continual growth.

Students of all granted communities will have access to better technology tools & training. Teachers will understand how to build low cost educational tools, have access to free software & curriculum materials, as well as the ability to fix their own hardware when it inevitably breaks. Employers will have a smarter worker pool. Future organization founders will have some of the technical abilities necessary to create products & services. The innovators of tomorrow will have post-grad level skills by the time they graduate high school. The exact applications of the technology will depend on the wants & needs of those innovators, as outlined in the previous answer. Given a grant that covers all stretch goals, Nyaka AIDS Foundation (nyakaglobal.org) and Fundi Bots (fundibots.org) in Uganda will receive similar help, with follow up by fellow technologists in the area.
STEM Club Battling the COVID slide. This is the phrase educational professionals are using daily. With schools ending 2019-2020 school year on a virtual platform and our largest service area, Clarke County, starting 2020-2021 school year virtually, we have seen firsthand the realities of the COVID slide. Our kids are falling behind rapidly. Parents have reached out in tears with no idea how to help their kids, manage a household budget, work full time, and create fun memories as a family. We have listened, we have cried with them, and we have committed to adjusting our programs to better support our kids. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, also known as STEM, create the cornerstone of creativity and real-life problem solving skills. Instilling these components along with literacy is essential to their futures.

Our world today is centered around technology. The changes and growth in this field are exponential and happening continuously. Developmentally appropriate STEM activities expose children to high level thinking and innovative practice through hands on activities. These activities teach kids how to fail gracefully, inspire ambition to try again, and overcome obstacles. The National Inventors Hall of Fame has curriculum available that is designed around six steps:

1. Inspire through exposure to inventors throughout history.

2. Give them materials to create a solution to a given problem.

3. Introduce them to patents, the concept of protecting one’s idea, and branding.

4. Expose them to tech tools to bring prototypes to life.

5. Introduce them to marketing strategies.

6. And ultimately guide them through the fundamentals of entrepreneurship.

Our STEM Club will model the National Inventors Hall of Fame curriculum to help our kids reach their potential and prepare for a brighter future.

1.Complete projects and activities modeled after the National Inventors Hall of Fame’s curriculum across a 12-week period.

2.Stress how these skills can be applied to real-life situation and can benefit a child throughout their lifetime.

3.Teach kids how to set goals and accomplish them. Motivate them to think big, outside of the box.

We will measure our goals through pre and post assessments, feedback from parents, kids in the program and staff, and checking in on their success in the classroom.

The lasting benefits of this type of program are beyond what we can imagine, especially for females. The American Association of University Women reports that only 28% of the jobs in the STEM field are held by women. STEM is one of the highest paid and fastest growing job markets and is male dominated. Young girls need exposure and access to STEM to broaden their career opportunities. The majority of the youth in our programs attend Clarke County School District. CCSD’s gender ratio is split right down the middle, while their race demographics are 49% African American and 24% Hispanic. These statistics alone represent the large number of youth that could benefit greatly from STEM in our community.

We already have an environment that is inclusive and welcomes kids and families of all dimensions of diversity. We now need the curriculum and materials to equalize the playing field for our community. An elementary school aged child’s brain is moving at full speed. First and second graders soak up information and vocabulary like sponges. Elementary school is the time to unlock their potential through STEM and develop additional 21st century skills. The innovation taught at an early age will play a major role in their ability to be flexible with change in their adult life and potentially set them up for a very lucrative career path. The time is now, and we need your help to make it happen.

Arduino Robots Students were asked to come up with differnet ideas for projects that would require the use of sensors and an arduino. They have no experience in electronics, and they will learn how to navigate that whole world. The goal is for students to learn the basics of how microcontrollers interface with sensors to create some sort of robot that is influenced by its environment via sensors. Most will be learning to code for the first time as well. The end product will be a tank that is remote controlled and fires a low power laser, but its code is influenced by other lasers via sensors on its body. We will be meeting virtually, and the kits I buy will be assembled for them to work on at home. We will meet and I will guide them as much as they need. There are many resources online with similar projects that I plan to have them utilize so they feel successful. I have a small group of 8 robotics students, so I can individually mentor each one virtually. Ideally we would meet in person next semester so I can teach them to solder. Our school is a title 1 School that serves a predominantly working class suburban neighborhood of chicago (Des Plaines, Niles). I believe this club helps motivate students to succeed, especially at a time where I feel I see less and less enthusiasm in schools. I think the community would benefit from having more student leaders who rally their peers.
Kundalini PIano Mirror I have developed a Raspberri-PI based realtime embedded system which plugs into a digital piano via MIDI/USB. The system allows a performer (students) to create .LUA scrips so that the piano KNOWS IN ADVANCE what musical effects you are trying to accomplish, and then HELPS YOU ACHIEVE THEM. The project helps students learn to program [while learning music] by developing their own .LUA scripts for use with their own musical performances, to achieve their musical and artistic aims. Additionally, the system ALSO provides another unique feature, which is that it can CONVERT the digitial keyboard into its MIRROR IMAGE, allowing for the natural emergence of true ambidexterity in students! I have already done significant development work to create this project. Additionally, I have already released all source code via GitHUB as open source software. Therefore, with the grant money, I will mostly try to build additional Rapberri-PI units preloaded with the software, and make them available to elementary, middle, high school, and musical conservatories. My Kundalini PIano mirror is of value to all music students, and in my own opinion, will revolutionize music [piano] education in two ways. The first is to incorporate programming (.LAU scripting) into music education. Additionally, said programming allows students to achieve beautiful musical effects more readily than is otherwise possible in young students. Examples include making the various voices in polyphonic music use different volumes or timbres , or achieving mathematically perfect crescendos or decrescendos, and in general using scripting to create interesting patterns and accents in piano [keyboard music] via their .LAU script development. (In essence, the Piano Mirror allows students to more readily bridge their [current] artistic competence, and artistic ideal.) Additionally, the piano mirror also can MIRROR the entire keyboard, allowing students to achieve true ambidexterity and novel interhemispheric coordination right from the beginning of their studies. This is achieved because the system facilitates their playing using symmetrical inversion. (please see website.) So in summary, the community benefited by my project is ALL MUSIC STUDENTS who can be exposed to the Kundalini Piano Mirror. As I mentioned, I have done all development work, but need additional funding to start to actually produce some units and to continue to work to spread awareness of the software and style of “programming-augmented” musical education it promotes.
18275 SubZero Robotics We are a rookie FIRST Tech Challenge high school robotics team and each year we compete in a different challenge. Each year’s challenge consists of a series of specific tasks that need to be accomplished by a robot built by us, the students on the team. This year’s game consists of tasks ranging from autonomously detecting rings to launching them into a goal/net. In this game, we explore different physics concepts like torque and inertia. We utilize Computer-Aided Design to design our robot to make sure everything fits well before building it in real life. We also apply complex software concepts like live position tracking, computer vision, and advanced control theory to perform tasks autonomously. Additionally, we are encouraged to document our work through the season in an “Engineering Notebook” and “Engineering Portfolio” in order to track and showcase our progression as well as accomplishments throughout the season. While a large sector of the FIRST Tech Challenge is related to robotics, the foundation is built on community work. As a rookie team, we have to create our own brand and gain exposure in the community. This requires things like a logo, name, website, and especially social media. We also seek to connect with the community by reaching out to businesses and especially other FIRST robotics teams to learn more about how they impact the world. Through these connections, we develop mentors, who are able to guide us on the technicalities as well as our goals in FIRST. Our end goal for this season is to compete on the world stage at the FIRST Championship. Throughout the season we have several competitions. Our first goal robot wise is to advance to the Ohio State Championship, hopefully with an extremely competitive robot. We’ll measure this based on our rankings and overall performance at the tournament. In the end, you should expect a solid-state performance and a ticket to the World Championship. During this time we also want to connect with the community. We will observe this based on the well-established connections we have by the end of the season and you should expect us to have a handful of connections by the end of the season.

Our team participates as well as creates outreach events throughout the year. Our goals are simply to expand our community impact and reach out to as many people and organizations as possible; we would love to spread the world of STEM and educate others. We can measure this by the number of events participated in/created, the number of hours contributed, and potentially the number of people we have impacted. You should expect us to have spread the idea of STEM to numerous people especially younger kids, and reach out to various different communities; not only in our state but all around the world.

We seek to benefit the STEM community around us. More specifically, giving opportunities to teams to learn more about coding, CAD, and 3D Printing. We look to teach students younger than us, as well as children who are less fortunate than us when it comes to education and schooling. By introducing these topics to kids at a young age we give them a chance to explore different areas of interest. As younger children, we were not able to have as much access to the STEM community as we may have liked to. FIRST was the gateway for many of us into STEM and we want to be able to share it with other kids to give them the opportunity we didn’t get. By spreading the ideas of STEM in our community it brings us closer together and we learn around a common interest.
FIRST Robotics Competition Team 2976 – The Spartabots The Spartabots are a robotics team from Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington. Our team competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). The Spartabots are dedicated to inspiring students in STEM fields through competitive robotics and community outreach. Our team is primarily student-run, with members working on designing, building, and programming the robot. Students can also develop non-technical aspects such as media production, business relations, and outreach efforts. Through this, our members are able to learn valuable skills in engineering, communication, and teamwork, allowing them to further pursue their passions in STEM and other career fields. We understand the importance of exposing more people from diverse backgrounds to STEM, and we are committed to connecting with our surrounding community through involvement in local events, helping other teams, and making an impact on our school and society. Although our competition season has been severely impacted by COVID-19, we plan to continue to engage our members throughout the year with extensive training and maintain our presence in our community through virtual outreach and events. The Spartabots have various objectives that we strive to complete each year. First, we aim to expand our club with more membership this year. We record how many members attend each meeting, and last year we had almost 90 members total as official members. Due to COVID-19, virtual meetings have made recruitment difficult, but we still anticipate some amounts of growth this year. We also want to maintain our reach in the community. We measure our reach with statistics such as the number of students we mentor in FLL and FTC teams and the number of interactions at local community events. Although we have shifted to virtual events and mentorship, we want to establish new approaches to outreach to get more of our members involved. By the end of the season, we expect to have a more engaged and educated club, whose members work hard to learn and help their school and community. The Spartabots have a joint effort with other high school robotics teams to start FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge teams in neighboring elementary and middle schools. Members are then able to mentor students in their respective programs. Through this collaboration, Spartabots mentors spread their knowledge of STEM to younger students (and the robotics advisors at each school) while the students receive hands-on experience. In the previous years, the number of FLL and FTC teams has doubled in quantity. Last year we mentored a total of 22 FLL and 2 FTC teams, reaching over 100 elementary and middle school students. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our team still strives to provide interactive opportunities for young students. Because of this, our team works alongside two other robotics teams to bring online robotics (specifically FLL) to local schools. Although this feels different for the students and mentors in terms of hands-on learning, we are grateful for the opportunity to educate more young minds and inspire their interest in STEM. Yet, our team is not limited to our district. On special occasions such as 4th of July and Salmon Days, two of the largest events in our community, The Spartabots set up a booth to showcase our latest robot. At such events, community members of all ages visit our booth to learn more about our team and/or interact with the robot.
Designing 3D Printed Wind Turbines to Learn about Speed, Force, and Power This proposed project would provide students an opportunity to design and test different wind turbine designs to learn about rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing using a fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printer, computer aided design, and calculating power efficiency by measuring the speed and force of the designed turbine. At the end of the unit, students will have researched the environment impacts of wind turbines and compared their electricity outputs compared to other forms of renewable and non-renewable sources, research designs for wind turbines, design their own wind turbine blades, 3D print and test them, reiterate their designs, and calculate the power and efficiency of their designs. This unit will serve as a performance task to help show that students understand speed and force as well as the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration. This project will be evaluated upon completion of the designs. Students will create a mock scientific research poster summarizing the design process they went through to come up with their final design. This will be graded using a rubric. They will also be assessed quantitatively about both the engineering design process and force and motion using an online assessment and benchmarking tool called IXL as well as the New Hampshire State Assessment System. This project is designed so that all 7th and 8th grade students will participate in the project. In the 2019-2020 school year the Wakefield School District reported that approximately 45.23% of students qualified for free or reduced lunch . This project would help to serve an underrepresented population of rural students with low socio-economic status. Students in this group have limited access to STEM activities and are not introduced to career paths involving STEM until high school. With 3D printers available they will have greater opportunities to explore an interest in STEM careers.
Click Brick Robotics (FLL team) To bring a weekly after school style STEM program for local kids in the 6-10 and 11-16 age groups to learn engineering fundamentals, basic programming, and problem-solving skills. We would be utilizing the FIRST Lego League program and aiming to compete in the end of the year show case and competition. Teams follow the program’s core values of discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, and teamwork while using Lego robotics construction kits to learn engineering principles and programming to solve a real world problem. The formation of 2 teams (FLL Explore for children ages 6-10 and Lego FLL Challenge for children ages 10-16) and a weekly program to provide technical guidance in a hands-on environment for learning STEM principles. First Lego League is a well-established international program that culminates in a showcase at the end of the season where teams demonstrate what they have learned in a presentation and then compete in a Lego robotics challenge.

As this would be the first year, the goal would be to establish the teams and to progress through the program to ultimately showcase the team’s designs and knowledge at the end of the year showcase and competition. The equipment for the Challenge division program supports the inclusion of other programming languages (Python, Java, C++, etc.) in addition to the default GUI based coding method, which would be a great goal to supplement the program with more traditional programming languages. Ideally the program will generate enough interest and enthusiasm to establish the teams on a recurring annual basis for future participation and competitions.

The nearest existing FLL Team for the divisions of the supported age groups are located just over 50 miles away, outside the means for many local families. The two teams would provide a community resource in the form of an introduction to STEM and an opportunity for two teams of up to ten children to participate in an introductory robotics competition. Being the first group in the local community could raise awareness for youth interest in STEM to possibly start additional teams or activities in the community.
Virtual STEM Workshop Series in 3D Printing and Computer Programming MSU St. Andrews will offer a series of virtual workshops that promote STEM disciplines to 5-8 graders in underserved communities as we work to build equity in our region. MSU St. Andrews hosts science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) education programs for students and families. These workshops will introduce students to the fundamentals and applications of computer science, computer programming, computer aided drafting (CAD), and 3D printing. This will be a six-part series. Three of the workshops will focus on computer programming with the Circuit Playground Express using both MakeCode and CircuitPython. The other three weeks will focus on CAD and 3D printing.

Students will be introduced to computer science and given the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of computer programming using MakeCode (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/makecode) block programming and Circuit Playground Express microcontroller. They will learn about variables, Boolean logic, conditionals, and iteration. The Circuit Playground Express will give them experience with programming on hardware with fun projects and immediate results. In a later workshop, students will be introduced to traditional computer programming with CircuitPython (https://circuitpython.org/). This will help them ground their understanding of concepts learned previously while helping them advance to the next level.

In this series, students will gain a basic understanding of 3D printing technology through the process of designing, slicing (generating gcode), and printing 3D objects in 3D printers. They will learn how to visualize conceptual objects and design 3D models using Tinkercad (https://www.tinkercad.com/), where they will create models with 3D design and Codeblocks. In the later workshop, students will be introduced to other CAD software (for example OpenSCAD and Onshape (https://www.onshape.com/). MSU St. Andrews will print the student designed 3D models and ship them to the students so they can see their results.

The main goal of this program is to expose underserved students to interdisciplinary areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that they might not be exposed to in their traditional schooling. We will measure the success of our goals through the number of students that participate, the engagement of students, and the ability and enjoyment of the students during hands-on activities. The Great Lakes Bay Region community in Mid-Michigan will benefit from this program. These workshops will be offered at no cost to the students. All technology needed to participate in this workshop series will be provided to the students to ensure equitable outcomes.
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence for Smart and Green Infrastructure Materials The proposed program aims to provide high school students with a rich and engaging set of activities related to the use of computer science and artificial intelligence for smart and green infrastructure materials. A STEM Challenge will be designed with the goal of promoting the participation of high school students from minority communities in higher education STEM disciplines. The multi-stage STEM Challenge with a mentor (faculty) – mentee (student) style is the STEM version of popular TV shows such as The Voice and Iron Chef, which have attracted a large, young audience in the recent years.
Concrete is second only to water as the most widely used substance in the world, largely due to the material’s low cost and abundance. The ubiquity of concrete comes with a significant energy and emissions footprint, which threatens to grow as domestic infrastructure degrades with age. The production of cement is an energy intensive and highly polluting process. It accounts for 5% of the total industrial energy consumption and 5% of the total carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere worldwide. Through lectures and workshops, innovative hands-on activities, and fun competitions, students and teachers will learn how computer science and artificial intelligence can be used to design concrete with low carbon footprint and improved life cycle and durability. The students will learn how computer algorithms enable detection of damages and cracks in infrastructure materials thereby improving public safety and reducing costly maintenance. More than 100 students from the underrepresented community in the Miami-Dade County School District will be directly engaged in the proposed program.
The goals are (1) to promote a general interest in STEM among high school students, (2) provide them with a unique interactive experience with science and engineering faculty and their respective laboratory capabilities, and (3) most importantly encourage them to pursue a career in STEM programs.

Evaluation:
The following metrics will be used:
•Implementation evaluation – Was the program implemented as planned? (i) research lab activity logs (frequency and duration of interaction), (ii) event programs, and (iii) participant questionnaires.
•Outcome evaluation – Did the program achieve the intended outcomes? Pre-post-participation questionnaires (collect participants’ demographic data, their perceptions of the quality of the activities, its effect on their interest and learning, their interest in pursuing a degree in STEM).

Expected Measurable Outcomes:
At least 75% of the participants (i) will show an increased understanding of the importance of STEM in their life and society, (ii) will develop a positive behavior towards STEM, and (iii) will develop a sense of community pride that believes STEM is cool.

The diversifying U.S. population makes it clear that the key to America’s future global competitiveness in STEM is engaging underrepresented populations at all stages of the educational pathway. Currently, there is a relatively low representation of underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields. Underrepresented populations make up 29.3% of the U.S. population; however, only 14.7% of STEM bachelors were awarded to underrepresented populations.
Increasing the number of students pursuing a career in STEM (particularly from underrepresented communities in Miami-Dade County) results in a more cohesive, accepting, and science-oriented citizenry who believe in the importance of STEM in improving the communities’ lives and properties.
Inspiring STEM Through Informal Learning (INSTIL) This project will build and ensure the longevity of robust STEM clubs to promote student engagement and retention of student participation throughout high school. By providing the foundational materials and supplies for three different STEM clubs, this project seeks to:

1. Provide students with the opportunities to immerse themselves in STEM activities through low-stakes participating in clubs and competitions.
2. Provide opportunities for students to engage in and build on STEM interests: Computer Science, Engineering, and Science.
3. Encourage participation of underrepresented students in STEM.
4. Provide data for teachers to lead the school toward STEM Certification.

INSTIL seeks to inspire students to the possibilities of STEM, provide a sense of community, and ignite student passion through opportunities to participate in school sponsored clubs. Participating in clubs has shown to create learning opportunities, connect classroom learning with real world challenges, and build student confidence that has the potential to lead students to pursue more challenging coursework, develop critical thinking skills, and to pursue STEM careers.

Overarching Goal: Development of a STEM Cluster of student clubs which provide high school students options to be involved in informal learning and skills development through Science (Science Olympiad), Technology (Hacking Club), Engineering (Robotics Club), and Math (Hacking, Robotics clubs). Particular attention will be given to the recruitment of girls and minorities for participation in all of these clubs. While the long term results of these clubs won’t be realized until after the funding cycle, the short term results will be measured by the formation of consistent and robust clubs that meet regularly and are intent on attending competitions

Three sub goals are:
Establish and support a Hacking Club, using the free curriculum and training at Hacker High School (https://www.hackerhighschool.org/) to support student computer science education outside of the classroom. The Georgia Senate recently passed a bill in 2019 requiring that all public schools offer Computer Science by the year 2024. For rural schools, like this one, providing CS for all students will be a challenge if current students are not given the opportunity to engage in CS in a low-stakes manner. Current high school students (those that will graduate between 2021-2024) in this county have had no formal CS learning opportunities. Starting as supporting this club through the foundational years will allow teachers to recommend students who have the opportunity to participate for up to three years paving the way for a strong club to exist and upcoming students to be given the opportunity to further engage in CS outside of the standard classroom. Funds will be used to support student projects, purchase materials and supplies, and to assist students with attending competitions. Success will be measured by the number of students who join the club and are actively involved in the organization. Club goals will be based on Hacker High School and monthly progress toward goals will be measured.

Advance the Robotics Club to be competition ready by Spring 2022. The Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Club, Techno Tigers, is a new club at the high school designed around the idea of understanding how robotics are used in waterways to do tasks. The county school, which is situated just north of the coastal plain of Georgia has many rivers, streams, ponds, and waterways that need to be routinely inspected for health. In addition, the South Atlantic Bight of the Atlantic Ocean is only about 90 miles away and an increase in dredging and recent container boat disasters (https://www.npr.org/2020/02/27/810021749/overturned-cargo-ship-soon-to-be-sliced-up-and-removed-from-georgia-sound) have brought attention to this area of the US. This makes the Underwater ROV club an excellent opportunity to engage students in place-based learning and design of vehicles for exploration and mitigation. Success will be measured by the students learning skills in the modeling and development of a tethered underwater ROV that can complete tasks. Monthly benchmarks will be established with the team to ensure they are on track to compete. Students will fully participate in the MATE ROV Competition held in Spring 2022. The International MATE competition (https://materovcompetition.org/) is a global student underwater robotics (remotely operated vehicle or ROV) competition that consists of World Championship and a network of 41 (and growing!) regional contests that take place across North America, Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Western Pacific. Hundreds of student teams from upper elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, home schools, community colleges, universities, and community organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club and 4-H, participate.

3)Goals related to Science Olympiad: Encourage and support participation in Science Olympiad as related to competitions in robotics (Engineering Design) and Coding (computer science). Funds will be used to purchase materials and supplies to allow students to participate in Science Olympiad. Rotating competition topics such as Optics, Ping Pong Parachute, Water Bottle Rockets, and others all require some specialized equipment to implement (launchers, Optic Ray devices) the lack of which make it difficult for students to design and test their devices prior to competition. In addition, these materials can be made available to science teachers throughout the school to ensure all students opportunities to engage in project-based learning through the design and testing of devices regardless of whether or not they choose to participate in the club. Science Olympiad rotates it’s competitions every two years. While some of the materials may be used this year, others will be used in subsequent years as events cycle back through. 2021 Science Olympiad Competition topics can be found at https://www.soinc.org/events/2021-division-c-events

Engaging students in school sponsored activities increases the likelihood that students will stay in school and graduate. In addition, engaging students in opportunities to connect classroom learning with hands-on learning inspires them to do more and be more. These clubs provide skills for students who might otherwise not have access to them. While we often hear of the gap in urban schools between affluent and non-affluent areas, much less attention is paid to small rural agricultural based communities where employment opportunities are at a minimum and lack of transportation makes engaging in experiences difficult. In addition, these rural communities are often served by one high school which doesn’t have the funding for many additional programs and lacks industry support, part of which is due to the small size effect of any support. 2019 Per Capita income is $18,718 with close to 25% of people living in poverty. 90% of students in the school system are eligible for free and reduced lunch. It is well known that when students are given the skills needed, it opens up options for future employment and they end up bringing economic prosperity to their communities. This helps break the cycle of poverty for many of the students as they build skills which can take them to post-secondary education or work. Students don’t know what they are good at if they have never had the opportunity to be exposed to options in a low-risk environment that clubs can offer. Clubs also offer the opportunities for students to travel to competitions and more importantly develop the soft skills employers are actively seeking such as teamwork, communication, and outside of the box problem solving and thinking.
CV Robotics The Crescent Valley Robotics Team (CV Robotics) is a high school robotics team in Corvallis, Oregon. Our team is completely student-led, meaning that students make almost all the major team decisions and are responsible for all outcomes of those decisions. While participating in robotics, students learn skills that will help them in their future career. This includes design, fabrication, coding, electrical, web design, fundraising, budgeting, and outreach. Our primary objective is to provide hands on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) experiences to all of our students regardless of their varied backgrounds.
Each year at CV Robotics, we aim to provide high school students with both unmatched hands-on STEM education and leadership opportunities. Along with these soft skills outcomes, we strive to compete every year to ensure that the students are invested in our team and therefore STEM. Throughout our team’s lifespan, 90% of alumni that participate and are invested in our program go into STEM related careers. CV Robotics measures itself by retaining student memberships and by the alumni rate who enter STEM careers.
CV Robotics benefits the Corvallis Community by providing unmatched STEM education that is far more valuable than what is provided within school hours. When students want more STEM education there aren’t that many options. While schools are able to provide some hands-on experience it isn’t that in-depth compared to what we do. We are helping children gain valuable STEM experience that could help them have better job opportunities and be more interested in STEM. In addition or club deals with every part of the design and build process by having subteams that deal with all aspects of building the robot.
Robotic Garden Plot to Grow Food for Aging Communities Mycelium NGO is creating a fully automated food plot on a raised bed on the CASA Vegetable Garden which is one of the oldest community gardens in Huntsville, Alabama. With organizations like NASA, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin located here, Huntsville is the perfect city to implement new systems for R&D on high-tech and local food production. This pilot project will be a proof of concept for automated outdoor gardening aimed towards providing organically grown fresh vegetables to elderly low-income households in Huntsville. The Care Assurance System for the Aging and the Homebound (CASA) is a well-known 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to provide care for Huntsville’s elderly and homebound population who are 60 years or older. A wide range of services are provided to the elderly such as transportation, yard work, accessibility, and delivering nutritious food. CASA has a dedicated vegetable garden for growing organic produce which is directly delivered to their elderly clients by volunteers.

Mycelium will use an open-source technology called FarmBot Genesis v1.5 on a raised bed of 4.5 square meters to grow vegetables chosen by CASA for families in need. The FarmBot is capable of planting, watering, weeding and harvesting produce from a raised bed. It can be controlled with a web application and the garden can be customized accordingly. The software is intuitive and requires no coding. More information on this device is available here – https://farm.bot.

Mycelium will also conduct free educational exhibitions and webinars to teach students how to create their own automated raised beds on campuses and backyards for growing local nutritious food.

The FarmBot project is a community based research project which will automate edible food gardening along with providing education on how to use robotics for sustainability. The overarching goal is to grow organic food using a FarmBot Genesis version 1.5 for aging and low-income communities while educating students in high schools and colleges to create their own FarmBots for campuses and backyards.

Our aim is to eventually convert the automated plot into an off the grid food production project. The FarmBot requires a 24-volt battery and will be powered by renewable energy from an array of two solar panels of 200 watts each. During winter months, the battery will be charged with a power outlet using an inverter. Furthermore, Mycelium will install a rain barrel to collect rainwater for watering the plot. The long-term goal is to have an automated plot which is completely off the grid.
For education purposes, Mycelium will install a webcam to provide a live feed of the FarmBot operation during specific hours of a given day. The live feed will be available on our website and anyone can access it. This will inspire students to learn more about sustainable agriculture and reconnect with the food system.

We believe the FarmBot plot will produce a meaningful amount of food, especially in the spring and summer months. By weighing the produce, we plan to quantify the actual production of this robotic garden. Currently, 761 clients of CASA are served by the food delivery program of the vegetable garden. We will be serving the same clients with our FarmBot plot and will quantify the amount of food grown and delivered with demographic statistics of the clients. We also plan to create future FarmBots by 3D printing the parts and replicating the circuits since the design is open-source.

We will measure the effectiveness of the FarmBot plot using three parameters. We will gather data on pounds of produce grown and donated to families by CASA, the number of families helped by age and income level, and the number of hours of FarmBot operations watched online on our website where it will be streamed.

Overall, we envision the FarmBot plot to provide organic and locally grown food to elderly and low-income families served by CASA and inspire the city youth, school and college students, to pursue technology for enabling environmental and social sustainability. We will also provide free webinars on how to replicate our project. This plot will be the very first FarmBot garden plot in Huntsville and can pave the way to a more decentralized urban food economy which will be sustainable in the long term.

The CASA Vegetable Garden relies primarily on volunteer work to grow and harvest food. The food is donated to CASA clients in Madison County of Alabama who are citizens of 60 years or older, nearly half of whom live in poverty. Our FarmBot Garden will reduce CASA’s dependency on volunteer work by automating food production. Therefore, our automated garden plot will contribute to elderly and low-income communities with fresh and healthy local food. We will implement renewable energy strategies for growing food. An array of two solar panels will generate electricity for the spring, summer, and fall months of the year. The combination of automation and renewable energy will pave the way to decentralized food production in urban areas. Given the broad impacts of the COVID19 pandemic, several states have faced food shortages and people in poverty are affected the most. Such threats to our food system will only become worse with climate change and water scarcity.

Mycelium’s vision for Huntsville is to create a network of FarmBot gardens throughout the city on residential properties over this decade. We plan to create future FarmBots by 3D printing the parts and replicating the circuits. Our vision is centered around self sufficiency and community resilience for the future. The implementation of our automated raised bed on the CASA Vegetable Garden will fulfill the basic needs of elderly low- income families of Huntsville and reduce food insecurity, especially in times of need such as the recent lockdowns due to the pandemic, with less reliance on volunteers.

Finally, Mycelium will host community exhibitions and webinars to teach students how to replicate our project wherever they choose. Therefore, the budding scientists and engineers of Huntsville will be inspired to develop technology for sustainable purposes such as growing food with minimal resource consumption.

Primitive Data Robotics FTC 20-21 Season We are FTC Primitive Data, a first-year FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) high school robotics team from the San Francisco Bay Area. To program our robot, we primarily use Java and implement many advanced control systems to achieve precise localization, path generation, and autonomous control. However, while building a highly competitive robot is a large part of our season, FTC is more than just designing a robot and going to competitions; we value community outreach, which we emphasize and organize through multiple initiatives. Our outreach projects aim to introduce individuals in our community to the world of STEM and specifically target under-resourced students. Some examples of outreach projects we organized recently are: OpenOdometry, an open-source hardware solution that enables other robotics teams to accelerate software learning and participation; RPL CAD Competition, a week long competition for robotics students to test and practice their 3D design skills. Our largest and most involved future project involves the Bluewater Foundation, an organization that provides sailing opportunities to incarcerated youth and challenges them to work for a better future. We will be working with the organization to create an introductory course to introduce underprivileged youth to STEM. As a team, we strive to not only exceed in a competitive robotics environment but to also provide youth with STEM education opportunities. Our main goal regarding competitions this year is to compete in the World Championships, but our goals for outreach and community impact extend beyond our personal performance goals. As mentioned earlier, we want to provide STEM courses for incarcerated youth; this class will act as a stepping stone to further projects where we will target other underprivileged youth groups. Currently, we are making connections with a Title 1 school in Richmond and planning an introductory programming course to introduce the students to the opportunities of STEM. We measure our success in these projects in three ways: how much we impacted the target group, how much the target group impacted us, and whether or not we inspired individuals to pursue interests in STEM fields. This year we expect to not only perform exceedingly well in competitions but also to have a lasting impact on our local and surrounding communities The main demographic that we aim to impact through our outreach programs are underprivileged youth who have limited access to STEM education opportunities. Many of these students are unaware of the promise that STEM holds, so we have made it our mission to guarantee that they are given equal opportunities to explore and build interest in these fields. Our outreach projects are specifically targeted at disadvantaged youth and are designed in a way that will best serve these students. Our previous and planned work with Blue Water Foundation highlights this commitment to serve our community: we recently serviced the vessels used by the organization to demonstrate to youth from the Camp Sweeney Juvenile Detention Center that there are other opportunities in life beyond what their circumstances restrict them to. In the future, we plan to work directly with Camp Sweeney and a Title 1 school in Richmond through our SumoBot initiative and coding courses that provide students with hands-on learning opportunities using small-scale robots and basic programming techniques.
OpenOdometry is a second major project that we have been developing for the past five months. We developed an open-source hardware design that allows for the easy implementation of a deadwheel localization system and encourages education in control systems for other teams. So far, over 160 teams from 10 countries spanning 6 continents have had the opportunity to learn from and implement our design solution. In all, we place as much emphasis on creating a lasting and positive impact on our communities as we do on creating a competitive robot, and this project has made us proud.
Trail Buggy The purpose of this project is to put together a trail buggy with a fully functioning end result. Videos will be taken to show the progress of the build. This project is meant to help anyone who is in need of assistance or needs help understanding how to build/put a buggy together. It is mainly to encourage girls to enter the STEM field by giving them something interesting to watch or an interest for them to choose to further take this idea and turn it into a bigger project. This type of project could be further upgraded, by putting better parts on it, or better yet made more environmentally friendly. The project would also help the students with their engineering skills as well as make their portfolio more interesting for college or any school that they’d want to apply to after high school, it will also make them more recognized at certain jobs too. Building a buggy could give more up close and hands on approach to understanding motors, and how the engine works. The end goal would be to have a fully functioning trail buggy that runs/drives, and to show people that students who are in the STEM program are fully capable of building bigger projects while problem solving along the way. This project is meant to encourage person who is interested in STEM to
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