15
Feb 14
Last Updated on 01 October 2014

Chairman’s Short Essays 2014

IMPACT ON TEAM MEMBERS

All Absolute Zero Electricity students are enabled and empowered to pursue STEM in college and career.  We offer hands-on engineering experience, pursue community outreach, and encourage communication skills. 90% of our graduates go on to study in STEM fields in college. They have been accepted to prestigious colleges such as the University of MD, MIT, and Drexel.  65% of our alumni have gone on to mentor FIRST teams, including AZE, and spark STEM interest in the next generation of students.

IMPACT ON COMMUNITY

Since the beginning, TechBrick has involved over 520 students from 36 schools in our area. In the past 5 years, TechBrick and AZE hosted over 60 demos including open houses and demonstrations at several local schools and the NI Days professional conference. We also strive to inspire children from underserved communities to become professionals in technological fields. To this end, we started and continue to work with LET’S GO Boys and Girls clubs to serve the next generation of engineers.

AZE’s INNOVATIVE METHODS TO SPREAD FIRST

One of the ways we spread FIRST is through creative outreach. We threw first pitches at several Aberdeen Ironbirds games, hosted LEGO boat races, assisted with robotics merit badges, and gave live musical performances while displaying an FTC robot at the Open Door Café. In addition, our 2013 robot recently performed in Beauty and the Beast, a ballet with the Harford Ballet Company. Finally, we offer help to teams around the world through a comprehensive website, Facebook, and Instagram.

ROLE MODEL CHARACTERISTICS

Our team’s strongest characteristics are dedication, cooperation, and open-mindedness. Our dedication is shown through our members’ willingness to meet for a total of 20 hours every week. Our cooperation is shown every meeting when each stub-team writes notes about what they learned. We use the notes we collect for outreach. Open-mindedness has led us to develop a partnership with the Maryland School for the Blind, and the Highlands School, a school for the learning disabled.

EFFORTS TO START NEW FRC TEAMS

Through our first 3 years, we have used every new experience we encounter to help start other teams. Our founding members are creating a book to help prospective and new teams called “Lessons Learned Rookie Year”, to share our experiences with those teams. One of our alumni is a founding mentor of Team Illusion 4464, which won a regional Rookie All-Star Award last year. We helped FRC 4464 prepare by sharing notebook and essay strategies and we continue to mentor them through this new season.

EFFORTS TO START OTHER FIRST TEAMS

With TechBrick, AZE and its alumni helped to start 62 new FFL teams, 12 FTC teams, and 1 FRC team locally. In addition to our local influence, we are one of the direct contributors to the establishment of FTC in the Netherlands.  The global impact we have on teams is immeasurable; teams in every country supported by US FIRST utilize TechBrick’s website.  Hundreds of teams thank us for our involvement in starting their team through the resources we provide.

ASSISTING OTHER FIRST TEAMS

Our partnerships with other FIRST teams span the globe. We are currently pursuing a partnership with 6 FIRST teams in China. Through Skype, we mutually demonstrate robots and share FLL research projects. Over 920,000 people have utilized TechBrick’s website, which contains documents and tools to aid FIRST teams. On AZE’s website, we offer our past award submissions and helpful links to other FRC sites. We are constantly looking for ways to reach FIRST teams through media outreach.

MENTORING OTHER TEAMS

By mentoring other teams, we build the STEM community in Harford County. We encourage new FLL and FTC teams through training days. By having Allie Hruz, also a student member of FRC 3941, act as a liaison for TechBrick FLL, we further develop our FLL program, the flagship FLL program in Harford County. To assist underdeveloped teams, we have mentored FLL teams from the Maryland School for the Blind, Boys and Girls clubs, and the Highland School. AZE and its alumni directly mentor 19 FIRST teams.

DESCRIBE SPONSORS

 

As AZE progresses as a team, we also grow our sponsor base. The industries represented by our sponsors include defense, education, software, and technology. Our primary sponsors are:  NDEP, Dresher Foundation, Enktesis LLC, National Instruments, Nehemiah Communications INC, O’Bryon Group, RED BAG Solutions, SURVICE Engineering, Tie Point Engineering, White Marsh Brewing Company, PTC, MD FIRST, and STEM Action. ARL is particularly important to our program, providing materials and meeting space.

 

DESCRIBE THE STRENGTH OF PARTNERSHIPS

In addition to funding for parts and competitions, we have developed outreach and education partnerships with several of our sponsors. The Army and Education Outreach Program at ARL shares facilities with AZE at the STEM Education Outreach Center at APG. In addition, 7 of our mentors work at ARL and Aberdeen Proving Ground. AZE worked with National Instruments to develop better programming skills through seminars. In return, we shared our FIRST story with National Instruments at a conference.

EXPLAIN WHAT FIRST IS TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT

With FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), we make it happen. FIRST is a worldwide organization that educates, motivates, and challenges young people. FIRST teams are highly competitive and yet supportive of both their robotics and local communities. The FIRST environment enables those involved to lead and learn via an innovative approach to STEM. The FIRST community of today will make it happen tomorrow by setting the stage for future generations of engineers.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

AZE is a third year team with an impressive resume. AZE is the budding executive leadership of TechBrick, LLC. The AZE and TechBrick partnership is a FIRST Robotics organization that positively influences teams worldwide. We encompass dozens of FIRST teams and hundreds of students and mentors of all age groups, from JrFLL to FRC. We propose that bringing the Chairman’s Award back to Harford County will promote and electrify our STEM community by setting an example for local teams.

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