Dean Kamen is impressed.
So much so that the founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics and inventor of the Segway today recognized Governor Rick Snyder with the 2015 Make it Loud Award at the Mackinac Policy Conference for remarkable leadership.
“Michigan has not only benefited from FIRST, but Michigan is leading the country and world as the only scalable role model,” Kamen said. Consumers Energy sponsored Kamen’s appearance to spark awareness and support for FIRST Robotics teams in Michigan schools.
Based on the growth of robotics teams in Michigan schools, “Michigan may be the first state to have (FIRST Robotics) in every school.” What’s more, Kamen said, “Detroit is on fire.”
FIRST Robotics isn’t a science fair; it’s a movement.
“It’s all about the talent,” Kamen said, addressing some 1,600 political, business and community leaders. “All of us deep down know that. We have to have the courage to do something about it.”
Studies show that kids who are involved with FIRST Robotics are more inclined to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Consumers Energy depends on STEM talent to innovate, engineer, anticipate and respond to challenges and opportunities now and in the future. It’s all about preparing the next generation’s workforce.
In addition to Kamen, Consumers Energy invited three top high school robotics teams to the Mackinac Policy Conference to display and demonstrate their projects and technology on the Grand Hotel porch, gallery and parlor.
“When you look at the data in this state…it’s astounding,” Kamen said of the growth of robotics teams in Michigan. “It took a partnership with government. Last year, as a result, there were more rookie high school teams in the state of Michigan than there were in the rest of the country combined.”