Since the beginning of the team years ago, we have created four categories for outreach: FIRST Robotics, Women in STEM, Community Outreach, and General Welfare Outreach. These activities help our peers grow in success and their interest in the STEM field. Through this outreach we have the opportunity to contribute to our inspiration cycle, a loop between our outreach and our community's input to our diversity. Our outreach grows our passion, which inspires us to grow our outreach. Metrobots consists of around one hundred students across a wide diversity of genders, races, backgrounds, and locations. Our members have become equipped with the tools to become STEM leaders, leading us to inspire new generations of innovators and create innovation and ideas for a brighter future.
The FIRST robotics committee works to encourage students to pursue STEM through participation in FIRST. We do so as a founding member of the Center of Robotics Innovation (CORI). Through CORI, we grow Gracious Professionalism in our FRC community by hosting a strategy meeting and a scrimmage in our build season. We have also hosted other FRC teams in our build space and share our practice field with CORI teams. We have helped to create a fun and engaging environment for over 1,400 participants through the FLL tournaments and FIRST-based Summer Camps. Our member-led camps have impacted nearly 100 students. One of our most exciting experiences was traveling to Washington D.C., where 10 Metrobots attended the 2017 FIRST National Advocacy Conference. We advocated for ESSA Title IV Part A, a bill designed to secure more funding for after-school STEM programs like FIRST Robotics. It was fulfilling to share our experiences with FIRST to our Congress to make STEM education more accessible to students of different backgrounds.
WOMEN IN STEM
The Metrobots have strived to establish an inclusive STEM community with the Women in STEM group, first by increasing the number of female participants on our team. 10 years ago, we only had 10% female participation, a number that has risen to 54% in the past season. Our current leadership is 50% female, and our top management positions have been held by women every year since we formed. 3324 has run a FLL camp for girls and assisted The PAST Foundation with their TechnoFashion summer camp and their initiative Girls Who Lead, where girls on our team shared their experience as STEM leaders. We have also created Women-in-STEM-themed buttons that we hand out at competitions and events in order to encourage more support for women in STEM. We further help to organize a STEM expo for middle and high school girls, as well as creating a podcast about solving the stigma surrounding women in STEM. The Women in STEM group continues to inspire girls on our team and community, motivating them to assist us in promoting gender diversity in STEM.
The Metrobots Community increases awareness for STEM in the Greater Columbus area. We annually demonstrate our robot at events such as The Ohio State Fair, Honda STEM Fest, Battelle, and our own Maker Mania events. We were asked to present at the Devol’s Dance, an invite-only automation summit featuring tech startup executives and former Ohio Governor John Kasich. Through these showcases, we have been able to bring STEM to all members of our community. 3324 also spends time each year conducting workshops for youth in Columbus that have limited access to educational opportunities in STEM. We hosted a workshop for Healthy Asian Youth, an organization that works with disadvantaged Asian American students, as well as numerous Maker Mania events and library workshops, introducing youth to the wonders of STEM and robotics. The Community group assists the PAST Foundation in summer camps focusing on Arduino Robotics, 3D printing, Minecraft Mathematics, and much more. Through these summer camps, we've inspired more than 650 students from around Columbus to grow in STEM. However, we don't stop there! We have developed STEM kits that were distributed to local libraries and taught students about Arduino, FLL, coding, and more. In order to share our experience in STEM with our community, our local radio station, WOSU, produced a film focused around The Metrobots’ build season to share with our community.
Our General Welfare group has already gone far with its goal of helping our community beyond education. 3324 has started multiple E-cycle collections to lower the amount of electronic waste in our community and are officially part of the Columbus Adopt-A-Highway program, where students meet to clean up designated roads throughout the year. A sign was placed along the road to recognize our team's effort. We have reached out to local parks such to perform trash cleanups as well. In order to further explore and make an impact in our community, we have hosted a baby shower for pregnant and new mothers in the underserved areas of Columbus. We were very excited to host this event loved to providing educational resources to mothers about taking care of themselves and their future child. We have also planning a bike drive to donate and fix bikes for Franklinton Cycle Works, an organization that offers affordable access to bikes. Our inspiration cycle allows the General Welfare mission to quickly advance as our humanitarian and environmental volunteer work becomes more impactful.