The annual FIRST Robotics competition returned to traditional in-person events in 2022 after the events were canceled in 2020 and held online in 2021. Patti Engineering was proud to sponsor four local teams; Team #70 Goodrich More Martians, Team #494 Goodrich Martians, Team #33 Notre Dame Prep Killer Bees, and Team #302 Lake Orion Dragons. All four teams made it to the FIRST World Championship held in Houston, Texas.
FIRST Robotics is a high school STEM competition where students design, build, program, and test robots. Industry professionals help mentor the students to navigate the real-world experiences they encounter during the competition. John Jowski, a Senior Electrical Engineer at Patti Engineering, explained that FIRST Robotics “offers students experience in many different aspects of a technical project.” “The students do the engineering while working directly with the robot, work on their marketing skills as they raise funds, and make the tough business decisions with the budget they set.”
Each year, the teams receive the parameters for that season’s game in January. They then spend weeks preparing their robot for local, state, and international competitions. This year, the game required teams to build a robot that could throw balls into a central-tiered goal and climb a four-tiered ladder.
While most school-aged competitions often lead to rivalries, FIRST Robotics aims to build camaraderie. There are no “trade secrets” as teams openly discuss their solutions to the game tasks. Often, teams will assist each other in the pits so that everyone can participate. It is more impressive to be the winner when everyone can compete at their best.
Congratulations are in order to Jowski, who was nominated for the Woodie Flowers Award celebrating effective communication in the art and science of engineering and design. While he did not win the award this year, it is quite the recognition to be recognized. “It was an honor to be nominated by my students for the Woodie Flowers Award,” Jowski says. “Encouraging the kids on the team and helping to instill confidence and excitement in the world of engineering is a reward in itself.” Founded by the great Dr. William Murphy, this prestigious award is utilized to recognize one mentor within the FIRST Robotics Competition that inspires and empowers this generation with their communication and leadership skills.
Jowski has mentored the Goodrich teams for the last ten years. He first got involved when his youngest daughter joined the Martians. “My favorite part is watching the students grow up and seeing what they can accomplish over the years,” he said. “Not only from what I have taught them but also from the other mentors.”
John made the trip to Houston for the FIRST World Championship in style! He rode in a private plane piloted by one of the other mentors. They had to make stops to refuel, but it made the trip worthwhile.
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