The Department of Defense (DoD) would like to give a shout out to the “Bruinbots” For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics team based locally in Burke, Virginia.
FIRST is a national nonprofit organization that operates after-school robotics programs for kindergarten through 12th grade students, both in the United States and internationally. The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills. FIRST strives to inspire innovation, foster well-rounded capacities, build self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
The Bruinbots began FIRST Robotics back in 2013 as part of the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) program. Guided by adult coaches, FLL teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology, then compete on a table-top playing field. The Bruinbots recently made the transition to the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) in 2017, where they won the Battlefield Qualifier as a rookie team. FTC teams (up to 15 team members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format. Additionally, the Bruinbots won the Rockwell Collins Innovation Award at the FTC Centerville, VA Qualifier on 16 December, 2018.
The team members of the Bruinbots attend Lake Braddock Secondary School (Go Bruins!) and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, both located in Northern Virginia. They meet in their coach’s basement, where they learn and practice systems engineering, requirements definition, rapid prototyping, 3D modeling & printing, software development, and human factors engineering. Their team mascot is Marty (a rubber chicken gifted to their coach by his former staff at Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme) and their colors are purple and yellow. The DoD wishes the Bruinbots continued success in their STEM studies and looks forward to hearing about their amazing achievements in the FIRST program!