Raytheon employees recently donated several LEGO Mindstorm EV3 robots and software to eight local schools and organizations in order to encourage kids to learn more about STEM and robotics.
Many will be using the robots to compete in the FIRST LEGO League tournaments, which start in August.
Raytheon has been extremely generous in many STEM-related activities in our community for many years, donating money, equipment and volunteers to many local schools and organizations. Its latest donation is geared toward trying to get elementary students to learn more about STEM using LEGO Mindstorm robots.
The company became familiar with LEGO robotics when an existing Foothill/La Colina Junior High team, FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3, demonstrated their robot at a Santa Barbara Board of Education’s Partners in Education meeting last February. From that meeting, two FLL teams, FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 and Masters of Disasters (Montessori Center School), were invited to demonstrate their robots during National Engineers Week at Raytheon on Feb. 20.
Inspired from that demonstration to help more elementary school students, Raytheon employees Edwin Ware, Shannon Benes and Larry Leveille managed to obtain funding within Raytheon to procure LEGO robots and software to distribute locally. FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 solicited the community, and eight organizations put in their request for the EV3 robots. The organizations benefiting are Girls Inc., Ellwood School, Foothill School, Mountain View School, Hollister School, Anacapa School, Montessori Center School and Knox School.
Although Raytheon employees want all the kids to benefit from this, they are particularly happy to see girls more involved with STEM, such as through Girls Inc.
Some of these organizations will be fielding an FLL team for the first time this August, and FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3 will be helping them get up to speed during the summer, teaching them the software. They will also help mentor them throughout the season as needed.
“We really appreciate Raytheon’s tremendous generosity,” FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3’s coach Rip Chou said. “Our team has really learned a lot through FLL, and we are hoping to share our experience by getting other organizations involved with FLL and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). A special thank you goes to Ed, Shannon and Larry of Raytheon for donating the EV3s and software to so many organizations I know it will have an immediate impact to many kids this fall.”
— Ri-Pen “Rip” Chou coaches FLL & Beyond: 2 squared + 3.