Best Robotics, Inc.

Rating: 4.82 stars   89 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Philanthropy

Location: 217 Ramsey Hall Auburn University AL 36849 USA

Mission: BEST is a non-profit, volunteer organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology, and math through participation in a sports-like, science- and engineering-based robotics competition.
Programs: The program involves having middle and high school students design, build, then demonstrate a robotic machine to play a sports-like "game". Engineers from local industry act as mentors to guide the students in the engineering process, teaming and other business principles. The contest is designed to simulate a real-world business and engineering environment. The contest simulates:
1) Time to Market - through a limited time period (only 6 weeks);
2) Design to Cost - by providing a "kit" of raw materials from which the robot must be designed. No other parts are allowed; 
3) Design to Function - by requiring teams to build a robot that meets design restrictions such as size/weight and still performs specific tasks in the game to earn points. Students learn other aspects of product development such as advertising, fund raising, technical writing, business operations, teamwork and leadership, etc. There are no entry fees and all materials are provided for the participating schools. There are many hubs (local contest sites) throughout the United States. Each hub sets it's own budget, performs it's own fundraising and executes the local competition.  All hubs use the same game, kit materials and time-frame for the contest, as defined and controlled by BEST Robotics, Inc.  The budget for a typical hub is approximately $1200 per team.  Hubs host from 8 to 32 teams.
2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have worked with BEST as a Teacher sponsor for 5 years before retiring and working as a board member and assistant director for out local hub. It amazes me each year how much creativity and effort the young people of today can put into such a short time. The contest realy gets them excited about science and engineering but it also alsows students who are not so inclined to participate on the team in its many facets. And since it doesn't cost theteams anyhting it allows every school and student to participate even if they have no funds available.

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

The excellent feedback and kind words of so many parents and coaches and teachers.

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

Help fund them so the board members don't have to spend so much time fund raising.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

As an Electrical Engineer, BEST is a great conduit to encourage students to consider engineering as a life long hobby. BEST provides the resources and people to help promote an interest in Technology. Also, as a board member involved in the Return Kit support, Judging, and Game Scoring, the feedback from the teachers, parents, and especially the students was overwhelming.

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

Seeing lots of people participating in and supporting their local schools.

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

provide a BEST Tech Support Team that would provide training on the Technology (Programming and Assembly) of the robot equipment.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

BEST Robotics is one of the best activities I have ever been involved in that is able to bring a community of people together to aid and mentor students as they search to problem solve. The greatest impact I see is that it draws the "Who's Who" of Engineering in a region together and they become 100% committed to the students. This results in bringing out the best in the student as well as the best of the community that surrounds them. Game day is both focused and wild at the same time as whole schools and their support system get involved in a totally ballistic experience. You have to see the effect this has on students.

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

Seeing how students grow in their ability to solve problems.

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

I would find a constant source of funding so that volunteers can focus more time on the student instead of searching for funding.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

This country's response to the STEM education crisis is being shaped by a hand-full of organizations, and BEST Robotics is a key player in that regard. Last year BEST engaged over 14,000 students in a program that successfully keeps them interested in STEM classes through middle and high school. The amazing thing is that thanks to the thousands of volunteers that run the program, it costs less than $100 per student and due to the generosity of our sponsor's, none of that cost is realized by the students or the schools.

BEST is a robotics competition program that goes way beyond building robots. BEST students attest to gaining skills in engineering, marketing, management, leadership, communication, team-building and collaboration all in a project-based learning forum. BEST students attest to being more knowledgeable about career opportunities and better positioned to choose any career they desire. BEST students attest to the profound impact the program has on their lives.

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

I've worked with students in the classroom, judged teams at contest, helped run contests at every level, engaged sponsors for funding, and serve on the Board of Directors. I have to say that from top to bottom, the program is focused on the students and making sure they get everything they can from the experience.

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

TBD

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Making sure students gain as much as possible through the program

What is its top priority in the long run?

Impacting teh STEM education crisis

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with BEST Robotics for 5 years and I have seen first-hand the impact that it has on kids. I've seen kids go from completely unengaged with school to productive, excited, and accepted members of the robotics team in a matter of weeks. This program is STEM learning at its finest!

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

the number of students interested in STEM fields as a result of BEST.

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

spread more hubs around the US...giving more kids the opportunity to experience BEST!

 
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Review from Guidestar