March 18th, 2022 – A few ChemDesign employees volunteered to judge and mentor during First® Robotics District Competition in Escanaba, Michigan. Paul Neilio, B-70 Manager, and Chris Moore, Waste Supervisor, volunteered their time this year to judge the student projects. Mark Haddock, Chemical Operator, regularly dedicates his time to mentor an area high school team for the duration of the season.
During the event, the students showcase their robotics projects and interview judges. Participation in robotics helps the students build skills for successful careers in welding, CNC machining, electrical, and engineering. The program also emphasizes soft skills like teamwork, public speaking, and community outreach through fundraising.
Mark Haddock has been mentoring for the past four years and has put in over 112 hours helping his student team this season. Both of Mark’s children participated when they were in high school and are pursuing STEM majors. Mark plans to continue mentoring in the coming years.
“I enjoyed watching the kid’s progress throughout the years. The kids go from not knowing much about building to being able to problem solve and fix up their robots. My favorite part is no matter what the kid’s strengths are, we find them a place where they can contribute”, Mark explained.
Paul, who volunteers to judge each year, noted the impact of the program from a managerial perspective, “It restores your faith in the future of humanity seeing what these kids are capable of. I volunteer each year because of the value it provides to these students: not only is it fun, but it develops the skills they need for working in science and manufacturing”.
STEM Outreach is continuously growing in importance– many programs focus on building the next science & manufacturing workforce. According to First® Robotics 2021 report, nearly 81% of students who participate in robotics in school choose a STEM college major. ChemDesign recognizes the value of inspiring tomorrow’s workforce and continues to support local teams through sponsorship. Check out more of ChemDesign’s corporate social responsibility activities on our Community Page.