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David McCoy '12 Presents Past, and Present on the Robotics Club for March 22nd

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Partners:
Coloplast Loram EJ Ajax & Sons Inc. Armstrong Subway, Inc. General Mills Boston Scientific Corp. The Bakken Museum Dunwoody College of Technology Itasca Community College

Born from a battle bots team, FIRST Team 2500, Herobotics began its life when students took the initiative to build, not battle. FIRST has been a positive outlet among the negativity that is prevalent throughout the Northside of Minneapolis.

In Herobotics infancy, the community was skeptical of a robotics team being successful in the most concentrated area of crime in the state. Students were accustomed to doubt and discouragement, rather than praise and a positive self-image. This is an area where the average income is less than 3/5th the cost of running a robotics team. Herobotics sought to challenge the communities' disbelief. Over the first two years, students have been able to come together after school to take their knowledge of science and technology to a higher plane. Herobotics reached a summit from which it was awarded the 2009 Engineering Inspiration Award at the 10,000 Lakes Regional. Once again in 2010, FIRST Team 2500 won the Engineering Inspiration Award, but the team pledged to outdo itself. Herobotics dealt with the loss of their adviser, but thanks to the gracious support of community members, Ken Rosen included, the team continued forward undeterred in their mission of reaching out and inspiring youth. The team mentored FLL teams and worked even closer with their community to promote the idea that everyone can excel in science and technology. That year, Herobotics won the Gracious Professionalism Award and Chairman's Award propelling them to nationals. Quickly following the high point of the season Herobotics had to overcome an unexpected natural disaster. Despite homes being lost, and families torn asunder from the tornado, team members pulled through along with the school, providing shelter to the displaced youth and their families. The tenacity of the team has only grown stronger over these past years by providing a constructive atmosphere where everyone can build a bright future. FIRST team 2500, Herobotics has instilled the values of gracious professionalism and coopertition to influence a generation, and has succeeded in redesigning the academic culture of the Minneapolis community and surrounding area.

FIRST team 2500, Herobotics remains one of Minnesota's most diverse and student- driven teams. This year almost 50% of the team speaks English as a second language. 80% of the team is classified as minorities, and 85% of the team qualifies for free or reduced lunch. Since the beginning, this student-run team has made decisions with the support of their advisers. The diverse, student-driven leadership that is Herobotics' backbone prove their youth-inspiring message of "Together We Will Build a New Heroic Future". This motto represents the culture of FIRST and core theme of Herobotics: to bring people, regardless of age, race, gender, educational, or economical background together for a constructive goal. Underrepresented youth rarely see themselves or anyone like them in a scientific and technological background. With the lack of role-models reflecting the Northside community, youth are discouraged in pursuing a STEM career. It is Herobotics goal to combat this "No, I can't," attitude and reach out, telling them, "Yes! You can". All students who want to learn and promote STEM and robotics can join without barriers.

The culture of FIRST team 2500 believes everyone can work together to build a new, inventive future. Sponsors and community members have made FIRST team 2500 successful.Since the beginning of Herobotics' development, the Bakken Musuem has worked intimately to ensure the success of the team. Team members were graciously accepted by the Bakken, meeting sponsors of the museum, and overall becoming a welcomed addition with their outreach. One of the most rewarding moments of the team's partnership was when Herobotics presented their competition jersey to Earl Bakken himself, and was invited to assist in his most recent project in Hawaii to create a workspace, like Herobotics, for students in the regional area. FIRST team 2500 has been fortunate in having international biomedical company, Coloplast, as a recent sponsor. They have gone beyond a sponsor's role by helping financially, sending mentors to assist late into the night, as well as supplying materials to finalize the robot. The Minneapolis School District has also supported to finance Herobotics through the build and competition seasons. After Boston Scientific's generous donation, the team was able to have their own workshop built into their school. The team could now help make accessing technology, and the application of mathematics and science as easy as walking into a classroom. FIRST team 2500's partnership from its school, to corporate sponsors, and local supporters has fulfilled the team's aspirations of everyone working for a common goal. Together, they have created hands-on programs, demonstrations, and events to reach out and encourage youth about the universality of engineering and robotics.

FIRST team 2500, Herobotics has made it their goal to introduce a positive, constructive attitude to their inner-city community. Calling upon their partnership with Patrick Henry High School, team members and their peers refurbished older, unused school computers. Students were given the computer they rebuilt to further explore the field of technology outside the classroom. The refurbished computers were also donated to Boy Scouts and the surrounding community. Herobotics presented FIRST, and the productive wonders of technology for neighbors and small businesses at the community-run event, Holiday on 44th. The inspirational image and dynamic of the team helped Patrick Henry obtain Project Lead the Way programs, so that students could learn engineering and the application of science and mathematics without leaving the classroom. FIRST team 2500 has also pioneered the International Baccalaureate Career Certificate program, which infuses IB alongside PLTW courses to enable students with a global perspective of technology and its correlation to the humanities. After hearing the school became one of NEWSWEEK's top 25 high schools in the state for its STEM program, Senator Al Franken visited Patrick Henry to see its FIRST team. The senator was impressed with this successful youth-run organization, and from his encouraging words, they carried their new-found confidence to a city-wide STEM expo for families, businesses, and students. Herobotics emerged as a memorable organization and was invited to demonstrate at another expo at St. Cloud State University. FIRST team 2500 was also a feature at the State Fair, where they shared the message of FIRST to an audience of hundreds of thousands of people. At both expos and while tutoring FLL competitors, the team has used VEX robots and programmable Lego sets to demonstrate the creativity and accessibility of being able to build, program, and have fun with robotics. The VEX robots have also been an excellent medium when working with Girl Scouts. Since early into the team's history, Herobotics has gone out to encourage girls to become an essential part of the STEM and robotics careers. When a team of almost 60% women speaks to the scouts, they see the team as positive role models of science and technology. Also, FIRST team 2500, in the true spirit of gracious professionalism, has been fortunate enough to travel annually with FIRST team 1816 Green Machine to attend outside regional competitons. The team is without barriers or borders, venturing out to communities abroad to hold workshops for youth of all ages to experience the joy of coming together under the inspiring message and belief that everyone can build a new heroic future.

When the community benefits so does the team. Herobotics has cooperated with other clubs and groups to assist in the seasonal challenge of FIRST Robotics, allowing everyone to benefit from this inter-club synergy. In order to run efficiently, Herobotics employs a department- style of organization, with each department contributing to the success of the team. In these departments and with our sponsors, team members are able to develop marketing and speaking skills, and overall business etiquette. Being on a FIRST Team allows members of all income brackets to help build business relationships and connections with engineering and science companies. Often these sponsors have looked to Herobotics for internships. Sponsors have also extended scholarships to notable team members, some offering full-ride schalorships to students. 70% of this year's members plan to undertake a science and engineering major, and students who have stayed as active members of the team have not only graduated on time; 100% of them have gone on to pursue post-secondary education. A majority of graduated students have returned to assist the team as mentors, so that they may continue to inspire, encourage, and motivate the next generation of scientists and engineers. The cooperation of every member in making a difference in the lives of the local and state community is a driving force for keeping members on one of the largest Minnesotan FIRST teams.
Despite team members having to overcome living in an area where failure and pessimism are more prevalent than a sense of accomplishment, the team has championed in providing a positive and constructive atmosphere from which students and the community have been able to build and create. Since members of Herobotics moved past the destruction of battle bots, doubt has been dispelled among the community by the tenacity and creativity that had pushed the team to being a notable figure in the state. FIRST team 2500 plans to move forward, offering scholarships to young women, implementing their Re-inviting Engineering to Society with Technology program, further expanding Urban Robotics throughout the metropolitan area, and continuing to inspire their community that "Together We Will Build a New Heroic Future".

More positives of Herobotics:

  1. Students develop real life business-management skills Team is self-sufficient and student-run Team receives advice from Dunwoody, Bakken and the GOFIRST student organization from U of M.
  2. 72% of team plans to go into STEM
  3. 81% have opened up to the idea of a STEM career
  4. Alumnus continues to mentor and speak to the community
  5. Underrepresented youth meet professionals with STEM careers
  6. Team continues to be culturally and educationally diverse
  7.  Inducted into school's Hall of Fame where trophies and banners will be displayed for future generations
  8. 41.7% are underclassmen
  9. Team provides multilingual translations of documents
  10. 58.3% of team is female
  11. Hosts workshops for FLL teams and Girl Scouts
  12. Won Engineering Inspiration award twice at 10,000 Lakes Regional Competition
  13. Won Chairman's Award at 10,000 Lake Regional Competition
  14.  Staple of community's Holiday on 44th event
  15. Recruitment at Henry's Annual 1st Friday club fair Marketing presentation at MN SPLASH FIRST inspired school to introduce IB Engineering Career Certificate program (1 of only 20 schools in the world)
  16.  Re-invited to Olson Middle School Engineering week
  17. 100% of FIRST members graduate to pursue post-secondary education