NSRDEC mentors robotics competitors
Scientists and engineers from Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center supported local high school teams April 7 to 9 at the Boston FIRST robotics competition held at Boston University.

They called it "Logo Motion," a game that pitted two alliances of three teams against each other on a 27-by-54-foot field.

The Boston FIRST robotics competition that took place April 7 to 9 at Boston University's Agganis Arena really had more to do with the future, however, than scoring points and winning in the present. That's why scientists and engineers from the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center were on hand to support high school teams from Natick, Burlington, Norwell, Holliston, Newton and Walpole, and technical vocational high school teams from Tri-County and Groton-Dunstable.

The teams attempted to earn points by hanging triangle, circle and square logo pieces on poles at the arena. Ryan Buckley, an NSRDEC mechanical engineer and FIRST mentor, said the competition was "an extremely fulfilling experience. In addition to being able to provide specific advice based on our own expertise, the mentors also discuss their own careers, which give the students a better understanding of how they could apply engineering to help our Soldiers on a daily basis. It is encouraging to see the level of participation in this event and how genuinely excited the students were to be involved."

The Boston First Robotics Committee was founded in 2005. Donna Bulger, NSRDEC workforce development manager, said no one was sure initially how the mentoring experience would turn out.

"Mentoring and supporting teams has been truly rewarding and a morale builder for our staff," Bulger said. "The teachers and mentors who are involved are dedicated beyond our expectations. The students who are participating are our future, and the future is bright."

"Partnerships like the one with NSRDEC are the reason that the Boston Regional continues to be so successful," said Mikell Taylor, president of Boston FIRST. "We look forward to continuing to build this partnership over the next few years."

Roger Hering, a Holliston teacher, praised the real-world engineering experience that the competition offered to students.

"The pressure of a six-week product definition, design, build and test cycle gives the students an invaluable insight into the critical importance that knowledge, team building, creativity, problem solving, conflict resolution, and perseverance play in the delivery of successful engineering projects," Hering said. "We are indebted to the NSRDEC for its sponsorship of this activity, and our students greatly appreciated the personal reception and recognition afforded them by General Greene and his staff at the First Robotics demonstration we attended at NSRDEC last spring."

For more about Boston FIRST, visit http://www.BostonFIRST.org.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16