AFCEA International Chapter News
LEXINGTON-CONCORD CHAPTER CHAPTER - Apr 07, 2021

Chapter Partners with MassRobotics for RoboWeek 2021

During National Robotics week in April, the chapter teamed with MassRobotics to bring "hands-on" STEM robotics kits and curriculum to Boston high school students and educators at the John D. O'Bryant High School of Mathematics and Science; Madison Park Technical Vocational High School; Boston Community Leadership Academy; and New Mission High School. The brainchild of the chapter's secretary and vice president of operations, the chapter and MassRobotics collaborated to secure sponsors and funding for BrainCo Neuromaker robotic hand kits and scholarships for students. Teachers and students were provided kits and workshops to teach them how to build the hands and program them to do simple tasks. Included with the kits was a learning platform curriculum for the most and least experienced students and teachers. As "leave behinds," teachers can now reuse the kits every year.

A big thanks to The MITRE Corporation and Toyota Research Institute (TRI) for "adopting" the schools and sending employees to work with the students to build and program the kits as well as discuss future STEM opportunities and provide advice on career paths. Thanks also to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, which contributed funding to support this endeavor.

Scholarships were awarded to students who competed in an essay contest by answering the following prompts:
•If you could go back in time, how would you use robotics to change an event in history? (The MITRE Corporation)
• If you could choose your dream career in STEM, how would you like to affect the world? (TRI).
First Place prizes of $1,500, second place $1,000, and third place $500 were awarded to winners for each prompt.

Kevan Kivlan, chapter president, noted: "Part of our mission is to support students pursuing STEM disciplines. This was a perfect venue for just that." Toyota Research Institute's press release quoted Kerri Fetzer-Borelli, head of diversity, equity, inclusion and community engagement at TRI: "It's energizing to see public, private and nonprofit sectors coming together to bring robotics curriculum to Boston public high schools." From a publication of The MITRE Corporation, David Moody, director of Bedford, Massachusetts, operations and strategic development, said, "Being strategic partners with local organizations like MassRobotics and AFCEA-and having passionate employees who are also part of these organizations-you naturally become part of the fabric of the regional innovation ecosystem."

The chapter and MassRobotics plan to expand the program next year to include additional schools. For additional information and/or contributions to next year's expansion, contact info@massrobotics.org.

Event Photographs:

In April, Boston Community Leadership Academy and New Mission High School students and educators join in a group photo to display the robotic hands they constructed and programmed during Robo Week 2021.
In April, Boston Community Leadership Academy and New Mission High School students and educators join in a group photo to display the robotic hands they constructed and programmed during Robo Week 2021.
In April, students and teachers from John D. O'Bryant High School of Mathematics and Science and Madison Park Technical Vocational High School proudly display the results of their robotic hand builds during RoboWeek 2021.
In April, students and teachers from John D. O'Bryant High School of Mathematics and Science and Madison Park Technical Vocational High School proudly display the results of their robotic hand builds during RoboWeek 2021.
Khalif Mitchell, volunteer, The MITRE Corporation, assists student with building a robotic hand during the chapter and MassRobotics collaboration to promote STEM education in April.
Khalif Mitchell, volunteer, The MITRE Corporation, assists student with building a robotic hand during the chapter and MassRobotics collaboration to promote STEM education in April.

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