STEM Grant Creates New Opportunities for Grafton Robotics Team
American Crystal’s Dominick Raedeke and Lisa Borgen visited Grafton Public School last week to present the school with a check for $5,000 and some career advice. Raedeke, a process engineer at the Drayton factory, and Borgen, vice president for administration told members of the Optimus Primates Robotics Team that their participation in robot-building competition is already putting them ahead of the game among future job seekers.
Raedeke, a mechanical engineering graduate, said engineers must know how to assemble things in the real world—a skill they acquire in robot-building competition. Borgen added robotics team members also will have an edge in job interviews, including some at American Crystal, that require mechanical aptitude testing.
The American Crystal STEM grant is being provided through the company’s Community Roots Giving Program, which has recently been expanded to deepen the impact on the communities where its employees live and work.
All nine high school robotics team members and their advisors Joe Koteles and Jackie Snyder, were on hand to receive the funds, and to demonstrate their current projects. The club will be using the grant to buy new parts and electronics needed to switch from FTC to VEX competition, a move that will provide more opportunities to compete and allow them to expand the program to include middle school students.
The VEX Robotics Project is expected to launch this June with a 15-hour summer camp and will continue throughout the upcoming school year as an extracurricular activity led by the school’s science teachers, Koteles and Snyder. The program will also serve as a model for future VEX Robotics clubs in the North Valley Extended School Project, which includes students in Minto, Midway, North Border-Walhalla, Northwood and St. Thomas.