With over a decade’s worth of competitions and nearly three dozen awards under their belts, the Lakota Robotics Team 1038 is jaw-dropping proof that you’re never too young to call yourself a maker.
Under the umbrella of the FIRST organization (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the team was founded in 2002 with the mission of exposing students to the myriad of unique opportunities available in engineering fields.
Jimmy Nichols, Assistant Team Leader explains: “There isn’t anything you do in this world that does not involve some piece of technology that was thought of, developed, and built by engineers. Even if the student doesn’t go into the engineering field, getting a glimpse of it will greatly aid them in working within the technological world we live in today.”
The Thunderhawks begin their season by first recruiting between 35 and 45 curious young minds to make up their team. They then jump straight into rigorous training sessions to familiarize themselves with the equipment they will use to prepare for the FIRST Robotics Competition held each spring. Considering the team’s success, it is most impressive that many of the students do not have any prior robotics experience before joining the team.
In addition to fostering enthusiasm for science and technology, it is the mission of FIRST to build the self-confidence, critical-thinking skills and community awareness of its students. Though the program builds upon the basic concepts of engineering that the students are learning in the classroom, Nichols believes that the most valuable part of the program are the concepts that students could never learn from a text book.
“The awards that I am most proud of are the Engineering Inspiration awards we have won,” he says. “These awards are given to the teams that demonstrate that they embrace and promote the mission of FIRST in their community –they are the type of team others aspire to be.”
Join us Aug. 29-30 at Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire to meet Team 1038, try your hand at driving one of their winning bots, or even learn about what it takes to build one of your own! Click here for more information or buy tickets now.
– Syron Townsend