Even if you don’t consider yourself a “science person”, you stand to benefit from FIRST robotics.

DO YOU LIKE:

  • blogging, programming: become their social media liaison- help create a blog or a traditional webpage to show off your team to potential mentors and teammates, sponsors, judges. Program your robot so that it, y’know, MOVES. Become the hero of other teams when you rescue their robot from sure disaster 5 minutes before a match.
  • drawing, graphic design, computer aided design: work with their web design and create the branding for your team: uniforms, display boards and signage, flags, hats, web graphics, flyers, buttons, stickers, and robot aesthetics. Create a mascot. Learn how to use design software by modelling your robot. 
  • writing, public speaking: write the content of your team’s promotional materials and letters to sponsors and parents, help your teammates develop scripts for their judging presentations—engineers aren’t known for being the most voluble speakers, but this skill can make or break a team. 
  • Cosplay: 3D printers! CNC manufacturing! Bandsaws! Dremels! Sandpaper! Screwdrivers! MENTORS that can teach you to use them! My Test Subject Roxy would have been impossible without the help of my mentors and access to my team’s power tools to shape materials like SOLID STEEL (my boot springs!). Team has acrylic scraps? Suddenly you get prop details. Your comfort with wearing bright colors and funky costumes in public, like to public outreach events and competitions, is a boon to your team’s ‘team spirit’ score.
  • buddies!!! (shoutout to grady, andrew, claire)
  • free college money: a teammate of mine was one of 3 applicants for a FIRST-exclusive scholarship at his university worth up to 2k a year. Here are the rest of the FIRST scholarships, totaling millions. Edit: Here’s my friend who gets 5k a year for an ARTS degree. (Thanks, Andrew!)
  • a good time: Competition is tough, but the program is set up to prioritize the value of inter-team cooperation, so competitions are positive spaces.
  • the satisfaction of creating something tangible and showing it off

DO YOU NEED 

  • public speaking skills: hint: you DO
  • something to do so your parents stop bugging you
  • practice at ANY of the above things, or help learning the skill in the first place: FIRST teams succeed by helping other teams succeed: if you or your team doesn’t know something, the program is set up so other teams DIRECTLY benefit from helping you, and many teams host resources online.
  • free college money 

If any team you meet says they don’t need non-mechanical skills on their team, they are wrong. Successful teams need non-technical skills to connect effectively with their communities, other teams, and judges. Engineering does not start and end at putting metal together.

-Teacups, FTC 417 Swerve Robotics ‘10-‘13

Apple to pay $32.5 million to settle FTC complaint

JUST IN: Apple will pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to consumers to settle an FTC complaint over in-app purchases made by children without parental consent, 9to5Mac.com and NBC News report.

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