CAD Mentor for Local Robotics Team
By day, Evan Hicks works at GSC as part of our Technical Support team. But out in the larger Milwaukee community, he has another role. Students participating on Pewaukee High's Robotics Team 1259, named Paradigm Shift, have mentors, including a lead mentor and a CAD mentor. Evan serves as CAD mentor and enjoys helping the team grow their knowledge and experience.
"SOLIDWORKS is a large sponsor of the FIRST Robotics Competition (the worldwide company that organizes all of this) and GSC is a sponsor specifically for our team. I think this is a great opportunity and experience for the students overall," Evan explained.
The students completely design the robot in CAD during the design and build process. "Being a part of the team myself, when I was in high school, was ultimately what lead me to choose a career path in engineering, so it's great to get to continue that tradition of inspiring students in areas of STEM. Its definitely as much fun for the mentors as it is for the students!"
Paradigm Shift started in 2004. The larger organization, FIRST, is an acronym - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, founded in 1989. This year's robotics competition revolved around the Destination: Deep Space theme as part of the 30th season of competition. Here's the game animation video to give you an idea of the theme in action.
Previously, the team competed in St. Louis. "We ended up seeded 6th out of 48 teams from around the Midwest. During the elimination rounds, we were the first team to be selected to be on the alliance of the 1st seeded team (alliances are 3 teams each). We won our quarterfinals matches and semifinals matches, but unfortunately lost out in the Finals rounds," explains Evan.
More exciting developments were yet to come. Evan recently announced that the team won the Wisconsin Regional at the end of March, after competing against 54 other teams. "One of our two alliance partners that we won with was actually Team 1091 from Hartford, the team that Joshua Helman (also GSC Technical Support staff) competed on when he was in high school. Now we're off to World Champs at the end of April!"
Influencing Students Now & To Come
The recent successes of the team wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the team’s sponsors, mentors, parents, and community. Evan adds, "As a mentor myself, the most rewarding aspect is to watch the students grow throughout their years on the team. They develop collaboration, communication, leadership, and critical thinking skills in the area of STEM. By the time they reach their senior year, they are some of the most skilled and hardworking students, fully prepared for pursuing STEM or another career path."
If you would like to watch the team's matches, view their competition videos.