The College of Southern Maryland received a boost to its annual robotics competitions for area youth through a donation of $3,000 from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) [NYSE: SAI], La Plata Division.
The American economy and our standard of living have been built on innovation, said SAIC Chief Technology Officer Amy Alving, Ph.D. And innovation is created by people educated in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Our nations future depends on maintaining a strong pipeline of students in these fields. Thats why SAIC supports science-based programs like FIRST Robotics that engage and motivate students to pursue STEM careers.
The FIRST World Championships begins April 27 in St. Louis and will include a local team who qualified through CSMs Maryland FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) in December. Under the Son, the team of Renee, Erik, Mary and Laura, home-schooled children of David and Lydean Spangler of Hollywood, returned from Atlanta last spring with a trophy for competing on the World Championship teamthey hope to repeat this week.
The Spanglers who are competing in St. Louis weighed in on what the FIRST program has meant to them. “Robotics has helped me to decide to pursue a career in mechanical engineering, said Erik Spangler, who along with his sister Renee will have two robots in the World Championships, a FIRST Tech Challenge robot and a FIRST Robotics Challenge robot.
“Robotics has helped strengthen my leadership abilities and has provided me a choice of multiple careers,” said Renee Spangler.
“Being the on-field coach has helped me learn to make decisions under pressure,” said Mary Spangler.
Just getting to the qualifying competition can be a great expense for teams, said CSM Business and Technology Division Chair Robert Gates. Sponsorships can help with award money that allows teams, like the Spanglers, compete at the next level.
STEM is a big growth area for all educational partners in Southern Maryland, said CSM Vice President of Advancement Michelle Goodwin. And, events like robotics competitions allow us to demonstrate to youth that science and technology are fun and exciting areas of study, we encourage them to stay engaged through their high school years and into college. We are grateful for partners, such as SAIC, who have those same goals and values and help make these outreach events possible.
To watch live feed of the FIRST World Championships, visit http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/content.aspx?id=4190.
For information on CSMs STEM programs, including robotics competitions, visit