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More Than Robots

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

We had just returned from Dalton, GA. The first of two district events of the competition season. We won the Engineering Inspiration Award. Our team was slated to film a major project the following week. We had some programming issues at Dalton and really wanted to get our robot, KJ-1961 back on the field. Once we heard that the NBA cancelled their season, we knew it was inevitable, March 12, 2020, our little bubble was abruptly deflated. There would be no more travel, matches or award ceremonies. We were devastated.

While the country sheltered in place, I watched the news and was saddened to see the reports of so many lives lost. Americans who were denied the presence of loved ones when their lives came to an end. Healthcare workers were also being impacted. Doctors and nurses didn't have the necessary personal protective gear that would keep them from contracting COVID-19.

But, one day I saw a post on social media from another FRC team. The pics were more like a photo essay, chronicling the process of 3D printing headbands and attaching a thin piece of plastic to it. A FIRST team was manufacturing face shields and donating them to healthcare workers! Instantly, I knew that I could contribute my STEM skills to help with the PPE shortage. For me, "More than robots", is more ethos than slogan. FIRST students from all over the world pitched in tools, raw materials, and their expertise to validate scientific principles and investigation. I love being a part of a giving community.

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