Chairman’s Award Executive Summary 2013

The following is our executive summary submission for the 2013 Chairman’s Award at the Chesapeake Regional.

Impact on Team Members

The vortex of TechBrick’s FIRST programs has profoundly influenced students, expanding their skill sets and molding their characters. The engineering experience our students gain in mechanical construction, electrical assembly, digital design, and computer programming is invaluable. Our students gain an appreciation of cooperation; purposeful teamwork develops patience and friendships. We now have a growing number of Team 3941 and TechBrick graduates headed into STEM education and STEM careers.


Role Model Characteristics

AZE’s students are role models for STEM education. Our team members have generously touched thousands of people worldwide through websites, robotics demonstrations, and virtual tours, such as a recent Skype interchange with teams from China. We eagerly helped over 50 local FLL teams (including at the MD School for the Blind) and 10 FTC teams get started and encouraged them during the build process. Our bond between mentors and students provides strong underpinnings for all our team activities.


Impact on Community

TechBrick and AZE’s FIRST initiatives have brought STEM education into the community’s limelight. We spurred the growth of Maryland’s Jr.FLL program from 2008-10, organized numerous educational outreach events (such as “Bristle Bot” workshops and robot demonstrations), started and mentored manifold FLL teams, including ones at community Boys and Girls Clubs and the MD School for the Blind, and hosted an FLL qualifier. Our outreach has spawned an irresistible vortex of STEM interest in our area.


Innovative Methods to Spread FIRST

TechBrick’s creative outreach methods include demonstrations at local Boys and Girls Clubs, LEGO Boat Race events, and AZE’s 2012 robot throwing the opening pitch at an Aberdeen Ironbirds baseball game. TechBrick regularly open its doors to the community, whether through open houses or general invitations. We support other FIRST teams locally, nationally and globally by releasing useful robotics documents and tools through our program and team websites.


Strength of Partnership

Over its 10-year history, TechBrick has attracted regional support from more than 50 corporations and individuals. To maintain AZE, we solicited help from larger sponsors including ARL, NDEP, jcpenney’s, and SURVICE Engineering. ARL has supplied financial support and 4 engineer mentors; SURVICE has given us a team HQ. The FRC teams 836 (Robobees) and 365 (MOE) advised us during formation and helped us generously at events. We have also forged relationships with teams from 4 local schools.


Communication Methods

Absolute Zero Electricity and TechBrick have an extensive communication network. TechBrick’s actively maintained website has logged more than ½ million downloads over the past 6 years and accrues 100-400 additional visitors daily. Many people use the site to find helpful FIRST files and resources and to ask our members for help. Our periodic newsletters reach thousands globally. We regularly raise awareness of FIRST through public speaking at corporate events, seminars, and launch events.


Other Considerations

TechBrick and AZE are faith-based, but we open our doors to all interested students. AZE includes students from Bel Air Middle School, Havre de Grace, Aberdeen Science and Mathematics Academy, and North Harford high schools, and many home schools. AZE is currently working with local community colleges to award credit for participation in FRC, in a program similar to Team 365’s MOE University. We are greatly appreciative of all the support of our loyal partners and mentors.

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