Brose North America recently awarded $15,000 to Pontiac Academy for Excellence (PAE) for its For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Team 6117: Wingspan. This is the first year of support from Brose, a technological leader in mechatronics – the integration of mechanics, electrics, electronics and sensors – to Team Wingspan.
FIRST is a hands-on, mentor-based program designed to spark young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Each year the program releases a new competition game, and this year’s is called FIRST STEAMWORKS. The teams and their mentors develop and build a robot to compete in several local events and qualify for state and world championships.
“At Brose, we engineer excellence in everything we do, and look to help develop the next generation of innovative leaders,” said Mike Brosseau, president of Brose North America. “Our support will encourage and enhance students’ interest in STEM topics, and help educate a future workforce able to handle the technology used in the mobility industry.”
Brose and Pontiac Academy of Excellence
Brose not only sponsors Wingspan, but some of its employees also volunteer as mentors. During the pre-season, team meetings were used as an afterschool education program for Wingspan team members. Students went to Brose’s Auburn Hills facility where mentors trained them in Computer-Aided Design (CAD), coding and problem-solving.
Funds are used for materials, tools, transportation, meals and other supplies the team needs for building a robot able to compete during the 2016-‘17 season.
“Having the team perform hands-on STEM-based activities while interacting with skilled industry mentors from Brose will be instrumental to our students’ growth and future. It will also teach them to work together to solve problems and create effective solutions,” said Dr. James Spruill, superintendent of the Pontiac Academy for Excellence.
FIRST students in team Wingspan created content for the potential to earn three awards, which include Woodie Flowers, Dean’s List and Entrepreneurship.
In its second year, Wingspan is composed of 15 students and 10 adult mentors. In the 2016 season, Wingspan won the “Highest Rookie Seed” award at a District event. This award celebrates the highest-seeded rookie team at the end of qualifying rounds.
The team, along with 40 others, will compete at several district “FIRST in Michigan” events, including an event on March 17-18, at Waterford Mott High School in Waterford, Michigan.