Shared values of strategic thinking and teamwork – plus a love of robotics – have brought Lam employees and local high school teams together to participate in the FIRST Robotics program. Founder Dean Kamen, an American entrepreneur and inventor, created the aptly nicknamed “Varsity Sport for the Mind” in 1989 as a way to inspire and engage young people in challenging, mentor-based activities that focus on building science, engineering, and technology skills. The program also helps students develop their aptitude for leadership, collaboration, and communication.
Employees in our Tualatin, Oregon, campus have mentored high school students in the competition for the past several years as a way to help promote an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. This year, 120 high school students from communities near Lam’s Tualatin and Hillsboro facilities participated in district and regional events, with three students qualifying for the World Championships. Guided by two of our employee engineering experts, Team Error Code Xero advanced to the Final 16 round with their creation of a Frisbee-throwing robot.
One of the Lam mentors, an 11-year veteran of the FIRST Robotics program, shared his enthusiasm about the company’s involvement. “I’m thrilled that Lam is involved. Without the support and employees’ expertise, several of the teams in Oregon would have been forced to disband. This program provides the students with real engineering experience as they develop innovative solutions or improve a process. It’s exciting to see the progress of the teams as they work through the season.”
Elaborating on the positive elements of participating in the program, the mentor said that he believes Lam’s partnership with the FIRST organization is a natural fit. In addition to strengthening our presence in the local community, participating in these well-produced events provide an exciting and empowering environment for students – something that can encourage them on their paths to becoming the technology and science leaders of tomorrow.
As part of Lam’s ongoing commitment in supporting STEM activities, we are expanding our engagement with the FIRST organization and look forward to participating in the New York Tech Valley FIRST Robotics program this year. We can’t wait to see what great designs the students create!
2015 FIRST Robotics regional competition at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York
Team Error Code Xero at the 2015 World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri