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More robots in WNY: WNY STEM Hub program encourages more FIRST robotics teams


Tue, Feb 27th 2018 10:50 pm
Thanks to grant from Argosy Foundation. WNY STEM Hub supported the creation of 47 FIRST robotics teams in WNY during past year
The FIRST program is an immersive learning experience with plenty of teamwork and camaraderie. The structured program requires student teams to design a team "brand," and build and program industrial-sized robots to play a difficult field game.
The addition of these rookie teams dramatically increased the number of sites and students engaged in FIRST robotics in Western New York. Early exposure to conceptualizing, building, programming and using robots is key for young learners, as the role of robotics is growing in many industries. This puts students on an important educational and vocational pathway toward 21st century careers, particularly those associated with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Rookie teams were formed at: King Urban Life Center; Buffalo-area Engineering Awareness Program (BEAM); Burgard High School; Nichols School; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Buffalo 4H Program; Wellsville Secondary School; Christ the King School in Amherst; Salamanca High School; and Dunkirk Middle School, among others.
WNY STEM Hub said engaging more students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning increases their proficiency in these subjects and sparks their interest in meaningful career options.
"By participating in FIRST, students develop their science, technology, engineering and math skills in addition to learning about STEM careers from their mentors. Most importantly, students will be having great fun," said Michelle Kavanaugh, Ed.D., president of the WNY STEM Hub.
WNY STEM Hub said engaging students to design and build something with tech skills supports their learning today and sparks interest in a career pathway, too, which is a critical need in this region.
The Measuring Middle Skills Occupational Gaps in WNY report determined a gap in the regional supply of new graduates to fill in-demand engineering technology jobs.
"Engaging today's students now will build tomorrow's workforce," Kavanaugh said. "FIRST programs are key to the development of a future technical workforce. The support of the Argosy Foundation has enabled substantial growth of teams particularly those in the urban and rural areas of the region."
WNY STEM HUB, the region's leading convener of STEM initiatives, is a not-for-profit organization with 700 individual members representing more than 250 organizations in Western New York. WNY STEM HUB is an initiative of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, affiliated with the National STEM Funders Network, the national STEMx network, the Empire State STEM Learning Network and is a regional partner with Code.org. Its aim is to create awareness and partnerships that serve learners of all ages in accessing STEM/STEAM learning and careers. Visit www.wnystem.org for details.

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