Rookie All-Star Executive Summary

The following is our executive summary submission for the 2012 Rookie All-Star Award.

Impact on Team Members

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

Role Model Characteristics

TechBrick students are role models for STEM education. Our team members have generously touched thousands of people worldwide through websites and robotics demonstrations. Taking the lead in outreach events has honed our students’ leadership skills. We eagerly reached out to help over fifty local FLL teams and ten FTC teams get started and encouraged them during the build process. The bond between mentors and students provides strong underpinnings for all our team activities.

Impact on Community

TechBrick’s FIRST initiatives have brought STEM education into our community’s limelight. We spurred the growth of Maryland’s Jr.FLL program from 2008-10, and we have organized numerous educational outreach events at local schools and throughout our community (such as “Bristle Bot” workshops and robot demonstrations). Our outreach has been so successful locally that we have been able to help start 3 FTC teams at local high schools and manifold FLL teams.

Innovative Methods to Spread FIRST

TechBrick’s creative outreach methods include demonstrations at local Boys and Girls Clubs, LEGO Boat Race events, and one team’s robot’s opening pitch at an Aberdeen Ironbirds baseball game. TechBrick recently held an open house to showcase FRC Absolute Zero Electricity (AZE), reaching over 200 community members. We support other FIRST teams locally, nationally and globally by releasing useful robotics documents and tools through our comprehensive website.

Strength of Partnership

Over its 9-year history, TechBrick has attracted regional support from more than 50 corporations and individuals. To form AZE, we solicited help from larger sponsors including ARL, NDEP, jcpenney’s, and Canby Motors. ARL has provided us with financial support and 4 engineer mentors; Canby Motors has given us a team headquarters. Two FRC teams who have been especially helpful to our team are #836 (the Robobees) and #365 (MOE). 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 occasional 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 Havre de Grace, Aberdeen Science and Mathematics Academy, North Harford, and Rising Sun high schools, in addition to 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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