Monday, May 21, 2012

PD&D EXCLUSIVE: How Mentor Eric Reed Discovered His Academic Self Through FIRST Robotics

MENTOR SPOTLIGHT We met high school math teacher Eric Reed a couple years ago when we first sponsored his students to compete in the FIRST Robotics Challenge. We have great memories from last year when our Project Engineer Brian Burke stopped by the classroom to assist students with their linear actuator build. Since then, we've developed close ties with him, his students and Middle College High School where he teaches. So when Product Design & Development Magazine approached us about profiling a FIRST mentor, Reed quickly came to mind.

We spent an afternoon catching up with the teacher and robotics mentor, asking him about why he chose to become an educator in the first place. His answer surprised us — he actually didn't discover his calling until later in life after working for years in fashion retail, buying and selling hoisery. His varied work history struck us as interesting, but more so his academic life. He wasn't the greatest student growing up, he told us, that's why he has such a heart for kids who are late-bloomers academically, kids who just need to find something that piques their interest to keep them on campus and in school.

'OMG ROBOTS' It didn't take long after he became a teacher to bring the FIRST robotics program to the schools where he taught. Those years of dedication to his students, to giving them an opportunity to discover the world of engineering and technology in a very hands-on, practical way led us to nominate him for this profile piece. [ Read the article — and leave a comment! We'd love to hear your thoughts! ]

MOTION MONDAY CHALLENGE You got all that? OK, let's test how much you even remember. And let's see how much the promise of a prize will motivate you into sending us the answers to this week's challenge. And hey, no shame if you need a cheat sheet! Just email your request to Good luck! [ Click here to download this week's challenge ]