Our project is to remodel and equip our robotics workroom, with furniture, storage, tools, and equipment, so that our mentor-based program fully engages our students in the design and fabrication of robots to teach the students science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills. Our goal is to raise $25,000 by August 31, 2018. Furthermore, our project is to support our robotics program for the 2017 competition season which includes purchasing materials and parts for our robots and competition related expenses.
Elm City Robo Squad began in 2000 as part of a physics class at Hill Regional Career High School, an inner city, Title I, New Haven high school. A few years later, we became an after school program using a basement workroom. In 2006, the team moved to a robotics room on the school’s main floor. Since 2001 we have participated in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competitions where a team of about twenty-five students annually designs and builds a robot as part of a challenge. We began with only two engineers mentoring and now have nineteen mentors. In sixteen years, we have influenced the lives of more than 400 ethnically diverse high school students. In New Haven, where 25% of students don’t graduate, our students graduate and attend college and even receive scholarships.
One of Elm City Robo Squad’s greatest attributes that sets us apart is our immense diversity. We are very fortunate to reside at Hill Regional Career High School, an inner city magnet school, in New Haven, Connecticut, as it provides us with students from various ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. Our student diversity translates to multiple perspectives and problem solving approaches to any challenge that our team faces. In addition to ethnic, religious and cultural diversity, we also have gender diversity, and are typically comprised of 50% or greater female student membership.
Another attribute that sets our team apart is our surprisingly prominent presence in the FIRST robotics community despite our team’s small size and limited resources. Even with a relatively small team of students, many of whom have other commitments and responsibilities, Elm City Robo Squad is able to hold numerous outreach and community activities annually. Elm City Robo Squad is committed to effectively using our resources to spread the values of FIRST. This commitment is exemplified by our FIRST Chairman’s Award wins in 2015 at the FIRST Rhode Island District event and the FIRST New England Regional Championship. The Chairman’s Award honored us for best representing a model for other teams to emulate and best embodying the purpose and goals of FIRST robotics and is the highest award given by FIRST.
Our small but prominent presence is also felt at competitions. As a veteran team, with sixteen years of experience, we engage our fellow teams. In addition to mentoring newer, and older teams, we hold presentations that feature our team’s strengths – technical and nontechnical – that are given at venues as large as New England FIRST University Day. Elm City Robo Squad also performs on-site learning sessions for teams that would like a more hands-on learning opportunity. While at competitions, our students can be seen buried deep in other teams’ pit areas offering assistance and parts, and learning about other teams’ features that could help us in the present season or the next. We are known as a team always ready to lend a hand and embodies the first ethos of Gracious Professionalism.
Related to our small size is another thing that sets Elm City Robo Squad apart from other teams, that is, we do a lot on a comparatively small budget. We estimate that we run on a smaller budget than most veteran FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams run on. Yet we manage to attend an amazing nine events a year: 4 off-season events, 3 FIRST District events, 1 Regional event and the FIRST World Championship. We build our robots with off-the-shelf components, keeping costs down and focusing on robust design. Would we like to have a bigger budget? Of course, but our demographics limit us. We reside at an inner-city, Title I school. We don’t charge membership. Parent participation is limited because of work schedules, transportation issues and language barriers. We don’t have the same number of volunteers that other teams have, especially non-engineering mentors. We do have a large number of dedicated engineering mentors, and therefore, we manage to put together an award winning robotics program.
Our strategic direction is to sustain and grow our robotics
program and STEM education, which is challenging. We presently operate with a smaller
budget than most successful veteran FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams
have. This limits our program in the number of competitions that we can
participate in, the extent that we can develop our robot technology, and the
types of outreach we can provide. With program growth and additional money, we
can do things like re-engineer our robot between competitions, build a twin
robot and use it to recruit new rookie teams by letting them borrow the robot
for off-season competitions and use it as a learning tool. With more money, we
can have the opportunity to attend more competitions where we hone our
engineering skills, scout for teammates by evaluating other teams’
performances, skills and robot designs, and talk to judges about our real life
experiences with designing and building our robot, and where we perform
on-the-spot maintenance for our robot requiring us to think-on-our-feet. These
types of experiences help us to educate our students more and help us to
educate more students.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
***Elm City Robo Squad operates under the New Haven Public Schools. The previous years of financial information in the profile is specific to Elm City Robo Squad.
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