Detroit Area Connection: Clarkston, Bloomfield, Romeo & Novi Teens Compete in Largest Ever Robotic Competition – Interview

Detroit Area Connection: Clarkston, Bloomfield, Romeo & Novi Teens Compete in Largest Ever Robotic Competition – Interview

Photo by Geralt of Pixabay.

A global robotics community called FIRST is the movement introducing millions of young people to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), preparing them for the future, developing their confidence, and inspiring them to be the leaders, heroes, and change-makers of tomorrow.

STEM skills have never been more important,

and robotics empowers students of all ages to not only help others in times of need – such as the pandemic – but also develop creative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. FIRST programs foster a love of STEM while equipping students with the skills they’ll need to drive the workforce – and society – of tomorrow forward.

How does the program work? It engages students in exciting, hands-on, mentor-based research and robotics programs that encourage them to work as a team to solve real-life problems.

These learning experiences allow students to work on projects tied to relevant themes like transportation, health, recycling, clean water, space flight, and fitness, culminating in a sports-like competition where they can showcase what they created and learned (this year, FIRST Championship was held in Houston, April 20-23).

Firstline Creative & Media (

The program provides an inclusive, community-based support system for kids worldwide and, in a changing and often volatile world, fosters a culture of “Gracious Professionalism” – this is a FIRST way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others and respects individuals and the community.

GP is the idea that, when we give people opportunity and respect, we encourage them to believe in the validity of their ideas and recognize their own potential. FIRST does all this while combatting a trend intensified by the pandemic: the loss of in-person, hands-on skills development to prepare young people for the future.

Examples of past use of the students’ STEM skills include:

  • 3-D printing prosthetic hands for students in need
  • Building an adaptive wheelchair for a teacher’s husband to walk their newborn
  • Safely delivering groceries for neighbors using an adapted robot
  • Building ventilators with car parts

Join me in a recent interview with Angela Baker,

Chief Sustainability Officer for Qualcomm, a Technology Co., and FIRST partner along with student, Ashna as they explained the vision of the program and its goal to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated, and young people dream of becoming leaders and are revered as heroes.

They also outlined how students can get involved and talk about a new documentary just released on Disney+ about the FIRST program and how young people are using the skills they learn to create a better, more inclusive future for everyone.

See the entire interview here:

For more information, go to


Angela Baker is the Chief Sustainability Officer at Qualcomm, Inc. and spearheads the company’s Corporate Responsibility efforts focused on driving sustainable innovation in wireless technology to transform how the world connects, computes, and communicates.

She oversees Qualcomm’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) program; Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™, the company’s tech-for-good initiative; and global STEM Education investments that inspire student inventors. Her collaborations with K-12 STEM organizations like FIRST Robotics help drive innovation and prepare the technology leaders of the future.

Previously, she served as an advisor to Secretary Hillary Clinton in the Office of Innovation at the United States Department of State, where she worked on foreign policy goals connected to the 21st Century Statecraft agenda specifically around issues of technology and development.  In 2018, she was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

 Interview courtesy: FIRST

Cynthia Tait

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