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Chrysler Foundation teams with FIRST Robotics to spark the brains of future innovators and problem-solvers

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The Chrysler Foundation is not trying to predict the future, but rather is trying to forge it.  This attempt to mold tomorrow and tomorrow’s talent comes by way of donating $229,000 in support of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics. With that support more than 1,000 middle school and high school students will be able to set their science-focused minds on course to compete in FIRST’s annual international robotics competition.

_MG_1545The building session began January 4 and included meeting to compare notes and get ideas, pick up official parts kits, learn the design challenge, and find mentoring groups.  All this happens at the local FIRST kickoff events.  Last year the goal was to build a robot capable of competing in high tech disc golf… essentially a mechanical college freshman.  This year it’s Aerial Assist.

The game is played by two Alliances of three teams each. They try to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two-minute and 30-second match. Additional points are earned by robots working together to score goals, and by throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor as they move the ball down the field. Watch this video for a demonstration.

The FIRST program provides students with invaluable real world engineering experience,” said Mark Chernoby, senior vice president, engineering and vice president, product committee coordinator, Chrysler Group LLC. “We hope that by engaging students at an early age, we can provide the spark that inspires them to be future innovators and problem-solvers.”

The Chrysler Foundation is providing $5,000 to 41 high schools in the U.S. and Canada to help support their 2014 FIRST Robotics Championships dreams. The schools in Michigan are:

  • Ann Arbor Huron High School
  • Birmingham Seaholm and Birmingham Groves High Schools
  • Bishop Foley Catholic High School (Madison Heights)
  • Bloomfield Hills High School
  • Capac Community Schools
  • Cardinal Mooney Catholic (Marine City)
  • Center Line High School
  • Chelsea High School
  • Dundee High School
  • Genesee Robotics Area Youth Team (Fenton)
  • Golightly Vocational Academy (Detroit)
  • Goodrich High School
  • Grand Blanc High School
  • Hartland High School
  • Lake Orion High School
  • Linden High School
  • Macomb Academy of Arts and Sciences (Armada)
  • Notre Dame Preparatory (Auburn Hills)
  • Oakland Tech Northeast (Pontiac)
  • OSM Tech Academy at Clarkston High School
  • Oxford Community Schools
  • Pontiac High School
  • Rochester Adams and Stoney Creek High Schools (Rochester Hills)
  • Romeo Community Schools (Washington)
  • Skyline High School (Ann Arbor)
  • Southeastern High School of Technology (Detroit)
  • Henry Ford II, Stevenson and Utica High Schools   (Sterling Heights)
  • Walled Lake Schools
  • Warren Consolidated Schools
  • Waterford Kettering High School

_E6V04293 compressedChrysler is also providing grants to schools in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana and Ontario, Canada.

For any teams that make it all the way to the FIRST Championship on April 23-26 in St. Louis, MO, there will be an additional $15,000 given in the form of a booster fund for support during the championship.

The Chrysler Foundation also awarded a $7,500 grant to FIRST in Michigan to support district and statewide robotics competitions, and grants of $750 each to support FIRST Tech Challenge teams in Fenton and Linden, Mich.

“The Chrysler Foundation and Chrysler Group are proud to help students discover the rewards and excitement of education and careers in science, engineering, and technology,” said Jody Trapasso, senior vice president, external affairs, Chrysler Group LLC and president of the Chrysler Foundation. “We are equally proud of our employees who generously mentor students and serve as competition coordinators.”

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