Michigan FIRST Robotics Teams Spotlighted At MIS

Michigan’s two international champion robotics teams on Sunday will get a close up view of the engineering that is a part of NASCAR on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

The Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development and Michigan Economic Development Corporation are hosting teams that earned top honors at the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis in April. Lightning Robotics is made up of students from Canton, Salem and Plymouth high schools; and Stryke Force has students from several Kalamazoo-area schools.

FIRST Mentor of the Year Justin Howard from Oakland Schools Technical Campus will also attend as a special guest.

“We’re celebrating not only what these teams accomplished, but also what they represent: Michigan is THE place for emerging talent in science and technology,” TED Director Roger Curtis said. “And by introducing students to necessary skills for the science, technology, engineering and math, we are creating a talent pipeline for jobs in Michigan.”

While at the track, the students will see up-close the inner workings of NASCAR, a sport rich with engineering and technological talent, much like Michigan’s workforce.

And some of NASCAR’s best and brightest will visit with members of the robotics teams, including Roush Yates Engines CEO Doug Yates, championship crew chief Darian Grubb and crew chief Cole Pearn, who hails from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. All have mechanical engineering degrees.

NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, who also earned an engineering degree from Purdue University in Indiana, is scheduled to visit with the teams on Sunday.

Gov. Rick Snyder is a strong advocate of FIRST Robotics, which engages students in the STEM fields by pairing them with experts to design and build robots. Michigan leads the nation in FIRST teams, and the state sent more than 90 high school teams to compete in the championship in St. Louis, the most of any state.

Detroit will host a series of FIRST Robotics World Championship starting in 2018. The events will include competitions for students in kindergarten through 12th grade in FIRST Robotics programs.