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Bill Kopp

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Best Robotics, Inc.
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.

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I was a judge in the 2010 competition and will become a mentor.

Review from Guidestar