Chairman’s Short Essays 2015


Through FIRST, students gain knowledge and experience which they will benefit from later in their lives. FIRST provides students with numerous opportunities to meet professionals and explore prospective career fields. FIRST has provided students with experiences that have influenced their decisions to partake in a STEM career. All Absolute Zero Electricity alumni have gone on to college, with 75% going into STEM fields and 81% returning to mentor.


At AZE, our students are admirable role models for FIRST students of all levels.  We help TechBrick students from FLL to FRC with all aspects of robotics and STEM including critical thinking skills, design strategies, and electrical and mechanical concepts. Specifically, several of our team members have impacted FLL teams in TechBrick and throughout our community. Each year, several of these FLL team have gone on to compete in the statewide competitions.


TechBrick is home to 2 JrFLL teams, 7 FLL teams, 4 FTC teams, and 1 FRC team. We have over 140 students in our program. TechBrick, our parent organization, runs an annual FLL and FTC qualifier. Hosting qualifiers is one way that we encourage students to be active in the community. Our alumni have founded FLL and FTC teams for the Maryland School of the Blind and mentored FLL students at multiple branches of the Boys & Girls Clubs. We also helped form FTC teams at Havre de Grace High School.


Our team’s innovative outreach spreads deep in our community. We focus on making sure that students receive STEM education from K-12. We educate our community through classes that range from engineering to public speaking. Our robot has been cast in Beauty and the Beast, thrown the first pitch at a baseball game, and visited a 5K fundraiser run.  We enjoy working with leaders in our community like the Armed Force Communications and Electronics Association and local government representatives.


As our team continues to grow, we are determined to see other teams develop with us. Our first, more involved experience with this was through our alumni who were founding mentors on Team 4464 who went on to win the Rookie All-Star Award. Our team assisted with mechanics, documentation, communication, their notebook and acted as mentors to them throughout their first season. In addition to this, we publish many resources on our websites to aid other teams in various aspects of robotics.


With TechBrick, AZE and its alumni helped to start 62 new FLL 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.


AZE collaborates with FIRST teams globally, including partnering with 6 FIRST teams in China via Skype. Over 400,000 visitors from 176 countries have viewed AZE’s website, featuring resources for other teams, including award submissions and teaching presentations. Techbrick also provides the means for students to progress through the levels of FIRST as they grow, making robotics more than just a phAZE, but an integral part in a student’s educational career.


AZE uses outreach to spread the message and vision of FIRST to other FIRST teams. We utilize our active website, social media, and community outreach to spread advice from lessons we have learned, and also technical skills we have acquired. We provide resources for any FLL team to use around the world. Additionally, AZE team members work directly with FIRST teams from local Boys and Girls clubs to help them become more successful.


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:  Raytheon, National Instruments, SURVICE Engineering, American Scale and Equipment, PTC, TiePoint Engineering and Army Research Lab. ARL is particularly important to our program, providing materials and meeting space.


We have received generous support from the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), a company which has provided a facility on Aberdeen Proving Grounds. This facility includes a workshop with machinery and plenty of working space. ARL and Raytheon has supplied our team with experienced, enthusiastic mentors. Raytheon also helped provide financial resources that allowed us to attend a second regional qualifier this year. The PTC Corporation has provided us with a wide range of software.


FIRST is a worldwide program that encourages youth to be active in STEM activities inside of their schools and throughout their community. FIRST simulates a real working environment while competing with other teams and learning the skills that will help students to succeed later in life. FIRST not only helps in the field of engineering, but also provides youth with skills such as public speaking, organization, communication, and cooperation, which are needed to thrive in any career.


AZE is a 4th year team with quite a resume. The AZE-TechBrick bond positively influences teams worldwide, encompassing dozens of FIRST teams and hundreds of students and mentors, from JrFLL to FRC. AZE has been awarded the Rookie All Star Award and the Engineering Inspiration Award. The recognition given to our team through earning our awards has encouraged us to persevere, thriving in every situation with the skills we have acquired, to develop the world one STEM-driven community at a time!

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