Contact: Cherie Ronayne
Office of Institutional Communications
cronayne [at] qcc.mass.edu
Worcester, MA – February 3, 2014 – Quinsigamond Community College provided ten Central MA Girl Scout troops an opportunity for a hands-on learning experience in the high technology field of robotics on Saturday, February 1. Girl Scout troops from Holyoke, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Rutland, Gardner, Holden, Jefferson and Clinton participated in the first day of a two-day workshop learning to build robots as well as learning about the importance of Girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.
The eleven and twelve year-old girls followed the Girl Scout policy of “Girls Leading Girls” with QCC’s Professor of Computer Systems Engineering Technology/Coordinator of the Computer Systems Engineering Technology Program, Betty Lauer, championing discussion on STEM and engineering careers, STEM programming at QCC, and specific robotics engineering. Later, Professor Lauer guided the troops through multiple steps of the robot building process.
A grant from Intel and Robotics Education and Competition Foundation (RECF) provided $1,000 robotics education kits to each troop; the finished ‘bots (to be completed on the following Saturday) will be used in an organized Robotics Scrimmage at QCC on Saturday, February 8 with over 80 teams scheduled to participate. Intel also supports QCC’s Summer Technology Academy for girls.
The scouts were enthusiastic about the opportunity commenting, “This is really fun,” and comparing the robotics technology to “extreme Legos.”
QCC has enjoyed great success building a pipeline of students interested in STEM by providing opportunities for K through 12 Worcester public school students to participate in Robotics technology programs. This latest workshop was directed at girls only, to build awareness of the many rewarding and lucrative opportunities available to Women in STEM.
QCC’s Robotics program, pioneered and facilitated by Professor Lauer, is currently in its 11th year and is one of the largest robotics consortiums in the United States. Students in the program gain expertise in robotics at an advanced level and many who participate as high school students have become very successful QCC students, later transferring to notable 4-year colleges and universities. While at QCC, they are able to participate in college-level competitive robotics and have also gone on to compete in the college division of the VEX World Championship Competition. (2013’s World Champion High School Team from Worcester Technical High School was advised by Professor Lauer.)
Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.