Tuesday, April 9, 2013

FIRST Team The Fembots Tour the Bishop-Wisecarver Facility

Part of the Bishop-Wisecarvear team guided the ever-enthusiastic Fembots, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 692, through our California-based facility last week. The all-girls team from St. Francis High School in Sacramento has an unending thirst for learning, and for, well, the FIRST, a non-profit robotics program geared at “…transforming our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders."

Those great words come from Dean Kamen, an American inventor and co-founder of FIRST.
Our Vice President of Manufacturing, Aldo DeAmicis, and our Product Manager, Brian Burke, led groups through the facility, describing products, processes, and equipment.

We caught up with the Fembots after their tour to hear what they were thinking and to answer any of their follow-up questions. The post-tour discussion began with technically-oriented questions that ranged from curiosity about the manufacturing floor to more FIRST-geared discussion with Pamela Kan, our company president.

 “A lot of people are really surprised when we tell them that we’re girls and we’re participating in FIRST,” one of the team members from the audience explained to Kan.

Kan nodded in agreement: “Girls can solve problems too,” she noted, “Oftentimes in ways that are much more different than men. Girls are creative, too.”

Kan then posed several questions to the Fembots team.

“Did you like learning tactically, in a hands-on type of environment?”

A series of “yeahs” emerged from around the room, with many team members nodding in agreement.

“What did you like best about FIRST?” Kan ventured.

“I like how you learn all of this stuff,” one student offered.

One of the team members raised her hand and offered her answer to Kan’s question.

“My favorite thing about FIRST is that I was able to write my college essay about being on a FIRST team. Because of that essay, I got a lot of personal responses to my college applications, and I also ended up getting a lot of scholarships. Actually, I got into my top choice school — U.C. Davis.”'

Kan nodded, smiling. “And this is why we believe in the event,” Kan later shared. “It is because of the infectious hope it offers and the starting point it provides for kids who want a future in science, technology, engineering, and math.”

Kan concluded the Q&A session by saying, “My favorite thing about FIRST is that you do everything in teams — because in work, at a job, you work in teams. FIRST is just like the real world, and it’s tough to get that type of hands on education anywhere else.”