The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) has awarded robot and drone kits to student groups across West Virginia and southeastern Ohio to increase the number of youths – particularly girls – engaged in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities. More than 300 young people, including 145 girls, are expected to benefit from the donations.
“STEM education is increasingly important in today’s technology centric world,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director & CEO. “Not enough young people are pursuing careers in these in-demand occupations. By introducing youngsters – particularly underrepresented girls – to robotics and drone technology through hands-on competitions, we hope to show them that sustainable careers in STEM fields are attainable.”
RCBI chose the awardees because of their commitment to participate in statewide robotics and drone competitions sponsored by RCBI and other STEM-focused groups and their proposals to recruit female participants.
Robot awardees are Barboursville Middle School in Cabell County, Smithtown Robotics in Monongalia County, Pendleton Builders 4-H Club in Pendleton County, a non-school-or-organization-affiliated group from Kanawha County; and Tri-State STEM + M Early College High School in Lawrence County, Ohio. Drone kit awardees are Charleston Catholic High School in Kanawha County and Tri-State STEM + M Early College High School in Lawrence County, Ohio.
RCBI will host a VEX IQ Robotics Competition Feb. 12 and a RAD Drone Competition Feb. 13 in Huntington. Teams will compete for a chance to advance to the state tournaments for each event in Fairmont.
RCBI’s robot and drone awards and student competitions are made possible through the financial support of the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium with assistance from the NASA IV&V Education Resource Center, the West Virginia Robotics Alliance, Marshall University and dozens of volunteers.
To learn more about our STEM events and opportunities, visit the Maker Vault page at www.mfg.marshall.edu/maker-vault/.