Robot demonstration and STEM outreach

FSR students pose alongside ILC space suit at 2016 DE STEM Council Awards Ceremony

FSR students pose alongside ILC space suit at 2015 DE STEM Council Awards Ceremony

Student representatives of two FSR teams– FRC 365 (MOE) and FTC 8528 (Rhyme Know Reason) — demonstrated their robots and talked about their design process with attendees at the 2015 Delaware STEM Council Educator Award presentation. In addition, FSR board member, Rashmi Kumar, a specialist in STEM learning with the University of Pennsylvania, was featured on a panel discussion– “Building a Culture of Community Learning around STEM.” The event, sponsored by the Delaware STEM Council, was held January 25 at the Chase Center in Wilmington.

FSR announces 2016 board

President George W. Bush, meets with the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), "Chairman's Award" Winning Team: MOE (Miracles of Engineering) Team 365 from Baltimore, MD at the White House, Monday, April 30, 2007, in Washington. Participants included Carol Kauffman, regional FIRST advisor (far left). Photo Credit: "NASA/Bill Ingalls"

President George W. Bush, meets with the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), “Chairman’s Award” Winning Team: MOE 365 at the White House, Monday, April 30, 2007. Participants included Carol Kauffman, regional FIRST advisor (far left). Photo Credit: “NASA/Bill Ingalls”

The Board of First State Robotics has a new member for 2016. At the December meeting, the board voted to invite Roy Hernandez to fill a vacancy left by the retirement of Carol Kauffman. Carol, a former regional director with FIRST, is an outspoken advocate for the power of youth robotics programs such as FIRST, to develop student self-confidence, career choices, and academics.

In a 2007 interview after traveling to the White House with FSR team MOE 365, Carol recalled the first time she attended a FIRST event and the encounter with two girls that got her hooked-

“I saw these two girls working on one of the robots…They were interacting with adults, explaining things like electrical systems… It turns out they… had never dreamed about going to college before getting involved in a robotics team. I thought that if something like this could inspire regular girls to read about electronics on their own and learn all of this, then it should be encouraged everywhere.”

Board president, Peggy Vavalla praised her years of service. “Carol Kauffman had a voice of experience, having been involved with USFIRST for many years. We will miss her enthusiasm, knowledge and ability to clarify an issue and identify the problem. We wish her great success in her future endeavors.”

Roy Hernandez, a Vice President in risk management with Barclays, comes to FSR with a wealth of experience as community leader and volunteer, having served terms with boards of the Latin American Community Center and Academia Antonia Alonso, a charter school in Wilmington. He is also the dad of an FSR robotics student.

In welcoming the newest member, Peggy noted, “Roy Hernandez’s background of service on various nonprofit boards makes him an ideal person to help us fulfill our mission. His previous experience with community outreach and education will help us look at new ideas and ways to move forward. The board is looking forward to his expertise and participation.”

2015 STEM Expo: Recap

Photo by C. Kauffman

Gov. Markell (center) and FSR board members at 2015 STEM Expo

The inaugural DE STEM Expo was a big success! Saturday March 7, there were over 25 exhibitors from education, industry, youth organizations and healthcare offering information and demonstrations to hundreds of visitors from across the region. In addition, two hundred viewers attended the local screening of the award-winning documentary SlingShot about the life and work of inventor and FIRST founder, Dean Kamen.

Thanks to participant organizations and especially to event sponsors which included Sylvan Learning, University of Delaware Horn Center for Entrepreneurship, Hologic, W. L. Gore & Associates, Delaware Bio, and Christiana Care Health System.