Robotics Challenges in the Time of COVID – Part 2

Carmen with her FTC Team

In Part 1, we discussed the challenges of virtual collaboration and fundraising for the past season of FIRST robotics. In this Part 2, lets discuss the challenges of competition and community outreach.

Participating in competitions themselves has been very different. The main draw of robotics for students each season is to compete, of course. Our competitions are always a fun and exciting time. The energy is infectious. It’s where all our hard work pays off.

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Robotics Challenges in the Time of COVID – Part 1

Carmen with her FTC Team

Most people who know me know I have a passion for FIRST Robotics. During the school year, much of my free time is spent volunteering in one way or another, from planning to coaching to mentoring to judging and beyond. I spend a good portion of my vacation hours traveling to competitions in places such as Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Michigan. I feel that the values and skills young people learn as a part of these programs are invaluable and lessons that they will carry with them through high school, college and life beyond. I am so honored to be a part of this program.

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Our Commitment to STEM: Preparing the Next Generation

DISTek Software Engineer, Jacob Shelley, with his team at the 2017 Cedar Valley STEM Festival

DISTek has been encouraging youth in STEM and problem solving by sponsoring FIRST teams for many years. This year is no different. DISTek is sponsoring ten FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams and eight FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams. We will also be sponsoring FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams when their season officially kicks off in January. In addition, we have ten DISTek team members that have committed their time to either coach or mentor teams.

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Life Skills from FIRST

FIRST Championship competition in St. Louis.
FIRST Championship competition in St. Louis.

I am a champion/advocate/passionate believer in STEM and the value of the FIRST® programs. I have written multiple blogs on the subject and shared what I view as the value of the FIRST programs. My involvement started with FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) over six years ago primarily because my daughter was old enough to join FLL (and who doesn’t like LEGOs?). Today, my whole family is actively involved not just during the season, but off-season as well. Instead of giving my perspective again, I would like to share a team member’s perspective, namely, my daughter, Megan, who is part of a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team that competed at the FIRST Championship competition in St. Louis this past season.

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A Vivid Vision: Planning for the Future

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A Vivid Vision for 2018.

In Cameron Herald’s book Double Double, he writes about how important a shared vision is to top performing business organizations. At DISTek, we just went through the vision setting process. We leaned out into the future to paint a picture of what DISTek will look, feel, and perform like three years into the future. The resulting vision highlights what DISTek’s employees, culture, customers, expertise, offices, and growth will look like on December 31st 2018.

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