LTCS Engineers assisting Students in F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Program

Getting high school students interested in engineering

The F.I.R.S.T. robotics program is a program designed to get high school students interested in science and engineering. Five LTCS engineers recently had the honor of helping the Jenks High School Robotics Team with their 2013 robot for the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition. Jenks, which is a suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been a long time participant of the F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition. Jenks High School physics teacher, Phil Jullien, who is also the coach of the Jenks Robotics Team, contacted LTCS Engineering Manager, John Blackman, about mentoring the robotics team this school year. As a result, LTCS engineers John Blackman, Matthias Boehme, Mika Haerder, Mark Sarsfield, and Kenny Walling all volunteered to be mentors.

To participate in this competition the team had to purchase a kit of standardized parts but was given a discretionary budget for miscellaneous materials. There are very strict guidelines for size, weight, and materials and the team had six weeks to complete the design and construction. The 2013 regional competition was held during March 29 & 30 in Oklahoma City. Jenks placed 40 out of 59 teams participating.

As mentors, LTCS engineers donated their time to act as technical consultants and assistants during design and construction of the robot. The team met several times during the week after school and sometimes on weekends to meet the aggressive deadline. This was a very rewarding experience by all. The students were able to learn from experienced engineers and our engineers, hopefully, have helped to inspire these students to study engineering as a career. Three of the team members will be moving onto college next year, but the rest of the team will be back for another round, which everyone is looking forward to. Meanwhile, the rest of 2013 will be spent contacting potential sponsors and honing the robotics skills of the students through work shops.