Thank you to Microsoft for supporting FIRST Robotics Competition! Throughout competition season, we will get to know Microsoft-sponsored teams. This week we profile 17-year-old Vanessa from FIRST team 7564 in Oshawa, Ontario. Vanessa shares her impression of FIRST and STEM.
I recently joined FIRST Robotics Competition Team 7564 in its rookie season. Almost immediately upon joining the robotics team I realized that this would be something I’d enjoy.
When I joined, the team was working on designing, building, and coding a LEGO robot for a competition at a local university. I joined on the last day before the competition, however they were still working on the programming. This allowed me to come in and try to understand what was going to happen and what the robot needed to do. I had no clue how to code the robot or what most of the stuff did in the program we used. I discovered that we were all learning together and I found that the others were willing to help me understand. In the end, the team was able to program the robot and compete!
From all of this, I learned that when working together cooperation is key. It is also important to have everyone understand what to do so that you can discover as many options as possible: having many different heads to help solve a problem.
What I like about FIRST Robotics and STEM programs is that they are constantly shifting the way I think. They incorporate new challenges that have made a great impact on how I think about new ideas and problems. My hope for this season as a team is that we can build a working robot in the time we have, and place well as a rookie team. I also hope we have fun and gain some collaboration and problem solving skills.
My hope for myself this season is to help as much as I can and understand the majority of how things were built and coded, as well as understand how to drive the robot. I hope that I will learn better problem solving skills while collaborating with others. I have been sharing what the robotics team has been doing with grade 8 students who have come to our school and I hope that they participate in STEM and join our team. I think some of them would really enjoy it.
I feel it’s important for companies like Microsoft to support teams and students in STEM. It gets students interested and working on projects that involve using their hands with other ways of learning. It guides students to not only take STEM courses, but also leads them into science and engineering jobs and towards the trades. Help from companies like Microsoft encourages students to participate in activities that prepare students for meaningful careers in the future.
Thank you, Vanessa! Best of luck to FIRST team 7564 this season.
Check out other Microsoft initiatives that are helping kids and youth obtain the necessary skills to participate in a world being transformed by technology.