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FIRST Robotics and G Systems: Creating the Next Generation of Innovators

Written by Carly Moran | July 28, 2017

Video: assisted by the driving skills of the son of a G Systems employee, Chain Reaction Robotics demonstrates their robot "climbing" an obstacle 

G Systems proudly supports the Plano Senior High School (PSHS) robotics team. Chain Reaction Robotics was founded only two short years ago, but it is clear that time is just a number for the bright group of high school juniors and seniors. The team excels in competition and continues to live up to their motto, “Blood, sweat and gears.”  

During the 2015-2016 school year, G Systems was Chain Reaction Robotics' first corporate sponsor. Our engineers mentored the team members by providing guidance, engineering training and expertise, and encouragement. We also provided the team access to our facilities, where they were able to prepare for summer scrimmages.


It’s About More than Just Robots

Chain Reaction Robotics quickly developed a vast skill set that earned them the opportunity to compete in the Dallas Regional competition and seize the Rookie All-Star Award. This award allowed them to qualify and contend in the world competition: the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship in St. Louis, Missouri. The FIRST Championship robotics competition brings together tens of thousands of students to put their robots to the test and celebrate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

“FIRST is more than robots,” FIRST Founder Dean Kamen said. “The robots are a vehicle for students to learn important life skills. Kids often come in not knowing what to expect—of the program nor of themselves. They leave, even after the first season, with a vision, with confidence, and with a sense that they can create their own future.”

Lynda Harrell, G Systems founder and CEO, understands the importance of FIRST and STEM-related education.

“G Systems is proud to sponsor Chain Reaction Robotics and to support the FIRST mission to inspire students to become science and technology leaders,” Harrell said. “Through this exciting mentor-based program, students build technology skills, as well as learn life skills of communication, project management, teamwork and leadership. As I encourage the Chain Reaction Robotics team at the FIRST Championship, I also encourage others to recognize the importance of STEM in shaping our future, and to inspire the next generation of innovators.”

Year Two: Victory in the Valley

G Systems once again sponsored the growing PSHS robotics team for their second year of camaraderie and competition during the 2016-2017 school year. A few of their many achievements included placing third in the Brazos Valley FRC Regional, becoming an alliance leader and receiving an award for innovation in control. Additionally, they made their second appearance at the international FIRST Championship to compete against the world’s toughest opponents. Chain Reaction Robotics’ performance the past two years has been unparalleled – an especially remarkable feat for a newly founded team.

To celebrate Chain Reaction Robotics’ success, we annually host a congratulatory party for the team to demonstrate their well-engineered robot to G Systems’ employees and guests. Each year, the design of the robot varies according to the FIRST competition requirements. The ages of our guests range from toddlers to high school students and tenured engineers with decades of experience in the field. The robot demonstration is a tremendous opportunity to motivate our younger guests to become involved in FIRST and see first-hand the beneficial impact that STEM has had on the Chain Reaction Robotics team.

Why STEM is Instrumental to the Future

Further illustrating the importance of STEM in education, we received a letter of thanks for our commitment to Chain Reaction Robotics from Dr. Brian T. Binggeli, Plano Independent School District (PISD) superintendent of schools. He expressed his gratitude for our support of the Chain Reaction Robotics team and our help in aiding his ultimate vision of inspiring students to become involved in FIRST and STEM-related topics. Dr. Binggeli’s district goal is to become the unrivaled national leader in STEM research and application.

“Our belief was that if we gave them the resources, logistics support and mentoring expertise to guide them, they would make an immediate mark in FIRST Robotics competition,” said Dr. Binggeli. “G Systems stepped in to help them make that dream a reality. On behalf of PISD and more importantly the young people at PSHS, I want to say ‘thank you’ for your generous donation of time and expertise.”

G Systems is excited to continue supporting STEM and FIRST as critical parts of education. STEM plays a vast role in America’s innovation; by 2018, 8 million jobs in the United States will be in STEM-related fields. We support STEM and FIRST to ensure that younger generations embody the desire to become instrumental to their success and implement “blood, sweat and gears” in a meaningful way into their lives.

If you are interested in learning more about FIRST or want to become involved in the organization, check out their website.