I went to the FIRST® Robotics World Championships in Houston, Texas, a few weeks ago. While I fully expected to see highly creative high school students having a blast with robotics, what I witnessed was that and so much more. These teams, which came from all over the world, were motivated, inventive, and insanely driven to be the best, all while having a lot of fun in the process. The atmosphere was captivating – there were team mascots, team costumes, cheering sections, banners, and pit areas that were decorated to the hilt. The competition is meant to be as exciting as any sporting event, and that it was. But with FIRST, students are learning about science and technology. And fluid power!
I visited several hundred teams in their pit areas and told them about the NFPA Robotics Challenge Scholarship – a $40,000 scholarship for high school seniors participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition or the National Robotics League (NRL) Competition and using fluid power in their robot. This scholarship can be used at any accredited tech school or university for students going into engineering. What I found was, in my estimation, approximately 75% of these teams did use fluid power in their robot and they were eager to show me how they did it. With over 100 applications for the Robotics Challenge scholarship being submitted, it goes to show that high school students are learning about the benefits of using fluid power in robotics.
Many thanks to NFPA members for their support of this program. Your help in spreading the word about this scholarship really helps. If you would like to be a reviewer of the Robotics Challenge Scholarship applications, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (414) 778-3364.