NJVC has always planted our flag in support of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. On a late April Saturday, we let a robot do it for us.

NJVC proudly sponsored Team 3595, Schrӧdinger’s Hat, at the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Championship in St. Louis on Saturday April 26—a competition that featured 12,000 students from 38 countries, tasked with creative robotic engineering design challenges. In the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), teams built robots, developed strategies and competed head-to-head to score points by placing plastic blocks into baskets on pendulums, raising team flags up flagpoles, raising their robots off the ground using a platform pull-up bar and more.

Team 3595, comprised of six students from Fairbanks, AK, was awarded the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award and the Promote Award. The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award celebrates a team that demonstrates creativity and innovation in their robotic design, while the Promote Award is given to the team that creates the most compelling video message designed to honor and promote a culture of STEM. Team 3595 was the only FTC team from Alaska invited to compete in the FTC World Championship, and won and received nominations for more awards than any other team.

A not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST’s mission is to inspire young people’s interest in science and technology.

“This country celebrates sports and entertainment, but wealth is not created by these ventures; it is the result,” Kamen said at the event. “It’s a passion for science, technology and innovation that have allowed these industries to prosper. Take what you have learned here and solve the world’s problems.”

The NJVC corporate giving program, NJVCares, offers financial support to local organizations in the communities where its employees work and live that advance youth education initiatives, particularly those involved in STEM.

For more information, visit the USFIRST website.