Michael Snow of TrailersPlus is an advocate for youth educational organizations such as Idaho Out of School and For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, also known as FIRST. To learn more about the FIRST organization and what makes it so unique we asked Michael Snow to give us a thorough introduction to the mission, goals, and programs of FIRST Robotics in Idaho; presented in the article below.
As adults, we often overlook how smart our kids can be. Yet, given the right amount of support and guidance, they have the potential to transform basic scrap metal into functioning and competitive robots. Michael Snow of TrailersPlus reports that FIRST Robotics of Idaho is dedicated to providing that guidance to help kids learn, grow, and become the little scientists they are at heart.
FIRST Robotics of Idaho is a child-centered non-profit dedicated to teaching children the tenants of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They’ve worked hard to help interested kids learn to build robots, compete against other like-minded youth, and actuate on their natural curiosities. By bridging children with professional engineers, FIRST Robotics is developing the industry leaders of tomorrow.
In this quick overview, Michael Snow of TrailersPlus takes a look at FIRST Robotics in Idaho and explores how they’re helping transform the lives of kids throughout the state. Together, we’ll learn of their endeavors and discuss their commitments to growing tomorrow’s tech geniuses.
What is FIRST Idaho?
Michael Snow of TrailersPlus explains that FIRST is an international organization dedicated to helping children learn more about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. It was first structured as a non-profit charity by founder Dean Kamen to educate youth in robotics and engineering. FIRST has since gone on to establish several large-scale competitions around the world.
FIRST Idaho is an offshoot of the larger FIRST organization, focused on bringing the same dedication to STEM education to a local Idaho community. Michael Snow of TrailersPlus reports that FIRST Idaho has hosted four previous robotics competitions, every year from 2016 to 2019. Since then, their efforts have been largely halted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Nonetheless, FIRST Idaho is dedicated to advocacy and regularly fundraises to help bring its message of widespread STEM education to the masses.
Who Runs FIRST Idaho?
As a non-profit organization, Michael Snow explains that FIRST Idaho relies on a wide range of volunteers, educators, and corporate sponsors to carry out its daily operations. Michael Snow of TrailersPlus reports that it is always looking for talented and skilled engineers, mathematicians, teachers, and STEM experts to act as mentors for its youth. If you have the skills, you could even help out by volunteering.
Beyond hands-on volunteerism, First Idaho is also supported by a handful of financial backers. These include:
The Idaho STEM Action Center
The Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation
The Acahand Foundation
Thanks to their dedicated funding, FIRST Idaho is able to host competitions and educational seminars.
What Does a FIRST Idaho Robotics Competition Look Like?
FIRST Robotics competitions are sponsored and designed for high school students to show off their robotics acumen. Students aged 14-18 come from across the state to build, test, and compete using their team’s homemade robots. Michael Snow of TrailersPlus says that these robots can be as large as 125 lbs, giving students a wide range of design opportunities.
As FIRST puts it, these competitions combine the thrill of “sports with the rigors of science and technology”. During the main event, students have the opportunity to work hands-on with professional engineers and tech specialists from across Idaho to build their best robot. This includes creating the physical robot as well as the software needed to make it run.
Teams work together by dividing their work across design, team management, and strategy to quickly create competitive final products. During the final showdown, robots face off in a series of challenges to complete an obstacle course by lifting objects, zipping around corners, and moving barriers. The first robot to finish wins and takes home the main prize.
Regional victors have the chance to move on to the FIRST Championship as well as gain access to scholarships from hundreds of universities around the United States.
Why Do High Schoolers Join FIRST Robotics in Idaho?
Michael Snow of TrailersPlus explains that the students who join FIRST Robotics in Idaho simply have a love for what they do. Whether it started with an interest in STEM or they loved the idea of building massive robots, they typically join FIRST Robotics to learn how to turn their curiosity into a real-life, functioning robot. Yet, that’s not the only reason why.
FIRST Robotics in Idaho is a community of like-minded people. By joining the community, students have the chance to learn from industry leaders and compete to show off their talents. If they win, they even have the chance to earn thousands of dollars’ worth of scholarships to top universities.
FIRST Robotics in Idaho is more than just a child-focused non-profit; it’s a chance for brilliant students to hatch their interests into real-world results. By mentoring Idaho’s brightest youth in science, technology, engineering, and math, FIRST Robotics gives students the chance to become their best selves.