We’re excited to announce EF Explore America as a MassRobotics STEM Champion. We’ve teamed to be part of their Boston STEM tour, providing a robotics workshop for students visiting on their tours. Read more in their blog post here.
Here is an excerpt from their blog post on Joyce’s ( MassRobotics Chief of Operations ) Q and A
Q: Can you give a brief overview of what MassRobotics is?
A: MassRobotics is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to help create and scale the next generation of successful robotics and connected device companies. We provide entrepreneurs and innovative startups with the workspace and resources they need to develop, prototype, test, and commercialize their products and solutions. We bridge the gap for startups and move new technology forward by educating corporate partners on what robotics can do for them, like creating new jobs and maximizing efficiency. A huge part of our mission is to also educate students and the community by introducing them to robotics, showing them that robots are helpful to society and not harmful, and showing them collaborative use cases. We offer a variety of ways to get involved in our STEM programs, from a short visit to a longer workshop
Q:What’s a typical program with an EF Explore America group like?
A: Students will spend about three hours with us and learn about the many industries that robotics is disrupting through real-world examples of machines used in construction, manufacturing, and packaging. They will interact with these robots to understand the mechanisms of how they work, how they are used, and how they play a role in shaping our future. They’ll even program some of the robots to play games like rock paper scissors, perform sign language, or pick things up.
Q:Why is it so important to inspire the next generation to pursue STEM?
A: Nearly all industries are being touched and disrupted by technology (and many with robotics) to solve challenges that improve repetitive tasks or fix processes that are currently dull, dirty, and dangerous. In the next decade, nearly every industry will be adopting robotics in some fashion. It’s important that students are familiar and comfortable around this technology and that they understand it. It’s even more exciting if they study and pursue careers in STEM.We often get multiple groups of students on EF tours at the same time, but when they’re all together in our facility, robotics feels like an international language. It doesn’t matter where students are from—robots make everyone excited, and we’ve found that students just naturally dive in and work together.We had an all-girl EF tour of juniors from Texas visit us in October 2022, and I especially love these programs because we’re always on a mission to get more women involved in STEM. When we can help girls gain confidence and feel empowered when talking about or working with technology, that can help shift their career focus and open a path toward engineering.
Q:What makes your partnership with EF Explore America unique?
A: My own children have traveled on six EF tours and had a blast, so I’ve been aware of EF for years. We started exploring a STEM partnership in 2018, and after some pilot testing, decided to host the FIRST® programs in our own facility as well, which EF helped us build the space for as one of our STEM Champions. While I’ve been connected to Steve (the former Regional Director of FIRST®) for years, our bond and programs have only grown stronger through working together with EF. We host many STEM programs that engage our local community, including a Drone Academy, a Jumpstart Program for high school girls, and the annual Robot Party (our largest community event). While we enjoy having students from the greater Boston area in our space, EF Explore America brings students from across the nation, really extending our reach to more diverse groups. We love sharing and exposing all students to robotics and our partnership is doing just that!