Upper Arlington City Schools News Article

UAHS student who launched FIRST Robotics, LEGO League is named a COSI STEM Star

Audrey with her COSI award

One Upper Arlington High School student is putting her peers and younger learners in her community FIRST.

In just two years, junior Audrey S. has partnered with Upper Arlington Schools educators, students and parents to launch a FIRST Robotics team at the high school and a FIRST LEGO League at the elementary schools. For her contributions to STEM education in Upper Arlington, Audrey has been named named a COSI STEM Star and will represent Upper Arlington as a grand marshal for COSI’s first annual Science Festival in May.

“Audrey has been tireless in her pursuit of new programs and activities for students related to the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Upper Arlington Schools Chief Academic Officer Keith Pomeroy. “She has been an excellent partner with our amazing staff, and she is a fantastic example for her peers and younger students in UA.” 

During the 2017-2018 school year, Audrey launched a FIRST Robotics team at the high school. She recruited an adviser, teacher Angela Hattman; sought funding through sponsorships and grants; recruited fellow students interested in robotics and trained them for the team. That year, the BearBots won the Rookie All-Star Award at the Buckeye Regional championships, earning the team an opportunity to compete at the FIRST Robotics world championships.

Now in its second year, the team has tripled in size to approximately 60 participants. The BearBots returned to the Buckeye Regional championships in March and won the Engineering Inspiration Award, which recognizes success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community.  With that award, the BearBots earned another trip to the FIRST Robotics world championships in late April.  

“As a team, this is a huge accomplishment that we, in our first two years, will have won two of the three awards that advance teams to worlds in the entire competition,” Audrey said. “It is a huge honor, and we are very excited to compete at the international level once again!”

In addition to launching FIRST Robotics at Upper Arlington High School, Audrey has also  spearheaded the start of FIRST Lego League at all five elementary schools this spring. She pitched the idea to the district’s STEM Advisory Committee, the school PTOs and district administrators in order to get permission and funding to launch the program.

It partners high school students involved with BearBots with teams of students at each elementary school. For now, it is open to fifth-grade students, but Audrey hopes to work in partnership with the media specialists at those schools to grow the program in the future.

“At the end of the season, all teams will compete against each other in a final event, hosted by the high school robotics team,” Audrey said. “I am continuing to write and adjust curriculum for the seven-week program.”

Outside of FIRST Robotics, Audrey has taken an active role in the planning for UA Idea Day, a one-day symposium at the high school, for the past two years. This year, she is the director of community engagement and fundraising on the student committee for Idea Day, and she also serves as a student representative on the district’s STEM Advisory committee.

The COSI Science Festival is a four-day event, May 1-4, that features community STEM events and culminates in the Big Science Celebration surrounding COSI on May 4. The celebration will feature STEM-related activities and demonstrations, including a “makey-makey” activity with representatives from the City of Upper Arlington and the Upper Arlington Public Library.

The Upper Arlington Public Library will offer two community events in conjunction with the science festival — “Be an Electrical Engineer: LED Flashlights” for children on Thursday, May 2 and “Make Your Own Seedbombs” for adults on Wednesday, May 1. For more information, please visit www.ualibrary.org.

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