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March 2, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
March 2, 2011

I have been involved with the BEST program now for 3 years as a teacher/coach. Prior to this I had never even heard of Robotics. I can honestly say robotics, BEST Robotics, makes a difference in children's lives. I've seen young people, not knowing what they want to do in their lives, become interested and pursue degrees and careers in engineering after participating in Robotics. Robotics reaches a wide range of students with a wide range of talents. It is an outstanding opportunity to students to elarn more about the business and engineering world. It develops ther critical thinking skills, creativity and confidence! The best thing about BEST? It is a free organization for our students!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen young people, not knowing what they want to do in their lives, become interested and pursue degrees and careers in engineering after participating in Robotics. I have witnessed young women acquire knowledge and confidence to use power tools and to see they too can be critical problem solvers! I've witness students acquire new skills such as programming and CAD capabilities.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not a thing!

February 28, 2011

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February 28, 2011

A colleague and I started the first BEST "hub" (competition site) in Alabama in 2001 and since then have had a hand in helping 20-plus other hubs get started around the country. There are now 47 sites in 16 states, with 8 here in Alabama. BEST is now entering its 19th year as a volunteer-run organization. It continues to have a profound impact on K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and the lives of thousands of students who participate in it. My experience in BEST has been the highlight of my 33 years in higher education and I count it a privilege to get to be a part of it.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...its ability to help students develop skills and competencies that will serve them in any career pursuit.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...find sustainable funding for BEST to have a full-time staff rather than rely solely on volunteers to run the entire organization.

February 28, 2011

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February 28, 2011

I have been involved with the BEST program for 10 years now as a student, a volunteer, and a mentor.

From all aspects, BEST has helped me immensely in my engineering career. The hands-on experience that I received in high-school as well as the interaction with mentors and teachers gave me
a jump start on my college education. It has also given me valuable experience with some of the "soft skills" that engineers typically lack. I was ahead of my peers in skills such as presentation, communication (written and oral), and working on a team of engineers on a deadline with tight restrictions (budget and time).

As a mentor, I got a chance to see the competition from another angle. It was an experience to mentor participants and see their engineering and problem-solving skills take off in just 6 short weeks. I still see some of the students that I mentored on campus in engineering, and it is exciting to know that I may have had some small part in inspiring them to pursue engineering.

As a volunteer, I continue to give back to the BEST program, as I feel that more high school students should get the benefits that I received from the competition. As a volunteer, I am focused on providing the most consistent and exciting competition experience that I possible can for the students.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my academic life in undergraduate was ahead of my peers due to the added experience that I got in high school

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase the number of schools and students participating, increase the focus of the competition on the soft-skills portion (booth, presentation, and technical interviews), provide more sensing and programming capabilities to the students

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

It has introduced me to new friends across the southeastern United States. It has also helped me hone my skills with managing people in a high-stress environment.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

It made me feel like I was giving back to students, so that they could get the same experience that I did when I was in high school.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

I have volunteered as a judge of presentations and competition awards for elegance and robustness. It has been a pleasure working with the Best organizers and seeing the excitement from the students as they perform. I have volunteered for other non-profit organizations and BEST is by far the most well run and organized program.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Our company employees Co-Op students from local colleges and some of the students we have met have participated in the BEST program. It teaches the students the fun in engineering and provides the opportunity for future jobs.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Provide more press to allow others to get involved in this exciting program.

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

I have been involved in BEST for several years, and I love it. It is the answer to sports dominated academics. Kids are able to have the thrill of competition, and at the same time, use their gifts of building, designing, writing, painting, calculating, teaming, problem solving, etc. It has an amazing impact on the kids who are involved. As a math teacher/sports coach, I see the kids develop an appreciation of math. Math is no longer a necessary evil, but a pathway to a future.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

.

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

Last fall we ran our first local competition. Once word got out about what we were doing, we were overwhelmed with schools who wanted to participate. We had to limit the number the first year. This year we will easily double in size and still have to limit the number of teams we can take. BEST is fantastic!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

By offering this competition, I became a superstar to local high schools / middle schools.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand - a lot.

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

OKBest has been a great tool for kids. My students finally feel they have a place where knowledge is power. Robotics are now COOL. I'm thankful for this organization and wish it would have been around when I was in school.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

By having a school team.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

none

February 27, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 27, 2011

I first became involved with BEST in 2003 after being asked to help judge by a local professor and good friend. After the first hub event (then Alabama BEST) I was hooked. I was so thoroughly impressed by the program and by the enthusiasm of these remarkable students that I haven't missed the opportunity to judge at any our hub or regional events since! It was also my great pleasure to be part of the judging staff at the National Championship in 2010.

I know of no other program that offers students the opportunity to take part in such a "real world" engineering effort. BEST allows students of a wide range of skills and future career paths to come together in a team effort to design, build, promote, and support an engineered product. And what they accomplish along the way can only serve to grow them into truly successful people, no matter where their studies lead them.

As long as I'm able to support this wonderful process, how could I possibly not be involved?

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Reviewing the work of hundreds of BEST teams.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Grow the organization in areas of the country where team participation is low. Specifically the Northeast and West.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

February 25, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 25, 2011

My name is John Stewart and I was a sponsor of a robotics team at Seagoville High School. It is great to be able to allow students to be involved in an electronics competition that can be very expensive but of no cost to the students. The students through the years have continued to use their experience in scholarship and work applications.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

When I have an opportunity to talk to former students they always talk about the fun they had in the Dallas BEST robotics competition.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The staff at Dallas BEST have always done a great job and I would not change anything.

February 25, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 25, 2011

I volunteered to be a judge in the 2010 New Mexico State University/BEST state competition. My educational background is electrical/computer engineering and I came to the competition with a bias for judging the exciting, "sexy," robot performance phase of the competition; however, what I discovered was, perhaps, more important than evaluating robot performance. At the competition I discovered the diversity of skills that could be utilized on a team.

BEST emphasizes much, much more than simply the math/engineering technical phases of project development, such as, community support, fund raising, team building, and record-keeping. The BEST competition provided an opportunity for students to recognize not only the importance of the technical contributions from students interested in building robots, but also, the significance of contributions from students with interests in business, photography and graphic design, project management, and communications.

One of our more successful teams included students who, of course, were programmers and physics students focused on robot performance, but the team had humanities/arts students working on photos and videos to document the robot development while business students organized presentations to the city council for support from their community during fund raisers. The BEST competition truly did help bring together a small but diverse community in support of their high school students as they built their robot.

I thoroughly enjoyed evaluating the teams and working within the BEST organization.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Since the competition, I have been working with an NMSU program that will present a workshop to teach middle and high school teachers how to teach programming the VEX Cortex to their students.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would like to see the robot kits and software made available to the teams for a longer period of time for additional practice/learning.

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