Robotics Challenge Competition Strengthens Workforce Strategy

Jacob Barnes NFPA’s 2018 Robotics Challenge Scholarship winner, Jacob Barnes, is diving into college life at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). I caught up with him a few weeks ago and this is what he had to say about his activities so far:

“Things are going great here at Cal Poly. It’s about a month into our first quarter, and we just finished up round one of midterm season. I have actually been here for two months, since I took advantage of Cal Poly’s Quarter+ Program over the summer. The Quarter+ Program is essentially taking two classes that are normally a quarter long, and squishing them down into four weeks. It is an advanced program that had its own application process, and I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to take part. The accelerated program forced me to adjust quickly to college life, and with the extensive support systems that were part of the program, it made the overall transition to college life very quick and streamlined. Not to mention I got to move into my fall housing assignment a week early, so I got to pick the good bed/desk etc.! I am in the process of joining the IEEE, or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, I am attending a social club on campus called PolyCon, and I am trying to find some other men to sing Barbershop Quartet with. But I am sure you want to hear about my academics – I am presently in Calculus 2, Physics 1, American and Californian Government, Introduction to Electrical Engineering, and a Lab associated with the Intro to Electrical Engineering class. I took Honors Public Speaking and Music Appreciation over Quarter+ as well.”

The Robotics Challenge scholarship is given each year to a high school senior who participates as part of a FIRST® Robotics or National Robotics League Competition team and uses fluid power in his or her robot. This merit-based scholarship is $40,000 ($10,000 per year for four years) and will help NFPA achieve its workforce goals by getting more high school students aware of and interested in fluid power careers. This year we had over 100 students apply for this scholarship, which means that at least 100 students and their entire teams are learning about and using fluid power.

If you would like to be a judge for next year’s competition, please contact Lynn Beyer at or (414) 778-3364.