The mission of Merrimack Valley Robotics, Inc. and FRC Team 5962 is to promote growth of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities for students in kindergarten through 12th grade within the Merrimack Valley and surrounding areas of Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.
With the help of our parent organization, Merrimack Valley Robotics, we engage in several outreach events every year.
Women in STEM
Our Women in STEM event allows girls grades 7 to 12 to interact and connect with female engineers and engineering students from around the area. Through hands-on, fun workshops, girls can see just how fun STEM can be. The event is free to registrants and lunch is generously provided by UMass Lowell. We have had 6 events so far from our first event in 2016 with 12 girls and our last one in 2018 with 50 girls in attendance.
At the event the students do activities learning mechanical, electrical, software and leadership skills. Activities range from candy dispensers, wooden catapults, altoid tin flashlights and learning how to design a website. We have a question and answer panel during the events for the attendees to interact and connect with female engineers. We host the event at UMass Lowell in their makerspace (Falmouth 102).
First Lego League and First Lego League Jr.
We host 2 Expos events each year to celebrate the students work in these grades K-4 and 5-8 programs.
During the expo there are many activities for the students to do besides presenting to the judges. We have stations where the students can drive our robot, build with LEGO, do face painting and build marshmallow bridges or electronic projects.
We plan to help grow both FLL and FLL Jr. programs in our local elementary and middle schools.
English Language Learners in STEM
We’ve noticed that it can be challenging for local immigrant and refugee students to access engineering electives and activities while adjusting to a new country, language, and lifestyle. We have held an after-school event for those students, helping them assemble and solder parts to make an Altoid tin flashlight.
We worked with a local Cub Scouts Den to help them earn their Robot achievement. We talked to them about FIRST and helped them make a robot using the WeDo 2.0 Kits. We taught them about how robots are used in the workplace and in homes.
Each summer we participate in a STEM night at a Lowell Spinners Baseball game. During this event we introduce passersby to our robots, what FIRST is, and the programs we offer locally. We let kids drive our robot. In past years our robot has thrown the first pitch at the Lowell Spinners baseball game. We have worked with other FRC teams to spread FIRST at this event.
Dracut Old Home Day
Our team presents at Dracut Old Home Day, a large annual community gathering. At the event, we bring our robot for anyone aged 3 to 73 to drive. This event allows us to inform our community for the benefits and joys of FIRST and STEM. Additionally, we utilize this event for recruitment.
Boston Mini Maker Faire
We represented NE FIRST at the Boston Maker Faire. We had a booth to present FIRST, specifically FRC to passerby’s. We showed our robot and talked about what FIRST is and how you can join a FIRST team near you.
Science Fairs and School Presentations
The team has been invited by the Dracut Brookside Elementary School and Lowell Public Middle Schools to showcase our robot at their science fairs. At the science fairs, we let the children drive our robot in hopes to inspire them to join either FLL or FRC. If our robot is not available for display, we showcase our CAD models and inform the children of the amazing opportunities available through FIRST programs.
Our team also hosts presentations at Lowell High School and are hoping to reach out to even more schools. At the schools, we give a demo of our robot and a presentation about our team. We also inform them of the many opportunities through FIRST such as FIRST Scholarships. Additionally, we also utilize these events as a method of recruitment.
UML Engineering Hockey Night
The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) has invited us to not only host our Women in STEM event but also attend their hockey game as a part of their Engineering Week. At the event, we got to showcase our robot and inform people about the wonders of FIRST and STEM.
UMass Lowell NERVE Center Valkyrie Event
Every year, we have been invited to the UMass Lowell Nerve Center with our robot for their expo of the Valkyrie Robot that will go to Mars. Here, we are given the opportunity to present our team to the families and children who come to the event. Other companies and university officials come to the event as well.
ADI Technical Conference
Our team was invited in both 2017 and 2018 to present at Analog Devices’ General Technical Conference. The event gave the team the perfect opportunity to showcase to our sponsor the progress we have made and spread word of FIRST.
UML I2I Conference
The UML I2I Conference is where hundreds of younger kids and local technology companies get to view the undergraduate capstone projects. Our team had not only been invited but have been given the chance to host our own booth there. The conference allows the team a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship with UML and spread the news of FIRST and STEM. At the conference, we hope to recruit more mentors, sponsorship’s, and maybe new members.
eNable is a volunteer group at UMass Lowell that designs and 3D prints assistive devices for children with physical disabilities at no cost to families. They recently reached out to us, and we’re helping them build a robotic ball shooter that will enable a local third-grader to play basketball from his wheelchair! To learn more about eNable Lowell please visit there site.
Dracut High School hosts the Dracut Annual Telethon to support their scholarship foundation. They broadcast various thing such as game shows, raffles, and fun segments on local television. We were invited to show off our robot and hold a booth at the event. Through this outreach opportunity, we were able to inform a wide audience of FIRST and STEM.
Lowell National Park
We hosted an event at the Boott Mills Museum where kids worked on STEM activities while visiting.
Dracut Council on Aging
We were invited to show off our robot and hold a booth at the event. Through this outreach opportunity, we were able to inform a wide audience of FIRST and STEM.