Shelby: Time to check in with our newest Channel One reporter, Keith Kocinski. What’s up, Keith!
Keith: Hey, everyone. I am happy to be here.
Shelby: So, fun facts: Keith grew up and went to school in Ohio, right? And prior to joining us at Channel One, he was a news reporter in Wyoming, where he covered everything from wildfires to…riding bulls?
Keith: Yep! The wild west was a blast, but I am happy to be here in New York City. Not as many cows but there is a lot of people.
Shelby: Yeah, no kidding! So, what is on tap for today?
Keith: Well, we are checking out a competition that inspires the next generation of scientists and engineers. Take a look.
Student: I would like to become an engineer.
Student: Electrical engineer.
Student: Mechanical designing.
Student: Software engineer or computer engineer.
Keith: Dreams that come true every year during the FIRST Robotics Competition.
Now, as students across the country head back to school, they better brush up on their robotic skills because the 2014 FIRST competition season is kicking off.
Student: FIRST is For Inspiration and Recognition Science and Technology. The saying is, ‘this is one sport where everybody can go pro’.
Keith: FIRST works like this: twenty-eight thousand high school students from all across the country and the world form teams to design and build robots. And every year, the students have to face a different challenge. For example, one year they had to build a 150-pound robot tough enough to crash and bash in an arena. Other years, the robots had to be smart enough to shoot three-point basketball shots, or launch Frisbees. In the past, even hip hop star will.i.am jumped in on the action.
will.i.am: I want to be a part of that little competition. I’m going back to school. I don’t want to just talk about it, I want to be about it. I want to be a gansta geek!
Keith: Students must use their STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and math – and get creative to solve some pretty complicated problems. Skills that might help these students land a high paying job.
There is no doubt we live in a global society, and many of our nation’s leaders emphasize the need for more American scientists and engineers. In fact, 7 of the 10 highest-paying entry-level positions are different types of engineers.
Speaking of careers, some of the program sponsors include companies like 3M, Boeing and General Motors. They have one special goal in mind for the competition.
Tom Stephens: Inspire these kids, show the kids that the robot project is just like a GM car project, and that they can have fun doing this and, in fact, then they can have a bright future at General Motors.
Keith: To add more inspiration, big-name companies use FIRST to scout talented young engineers. General Motors has hired over three hundred FIRST students who have gone on to get their college engineering degrees. And that is one reason why will.i.am thinks the competition should happen a lot more often.
will.i.am: Instead of a FIRST program, we should just have FIRST schools.
Keith: The national competition will take place this April. If you want to sign up, check out Channelone.com for more details.