The robots are coming and we need 100 human volunteers!
In the FIRST Robotics competition, 29 robots built and programmed by teams of Ontario high school students, will compete in an epic battle that combines the excitement of a championship sporting event with the practical application of science and technology. The event takes place at the Barrie Campus from March 6 to 8.
Recent Georgian graduate and two-time event volunteer Steven McLeod tells us why this is a fun and meaningful event to get involved in. Plus, as an alumnus of the Electrical Engineering Technology program, he plans to volunteer again this year!
Q: What made you want to volunteer at First Robotics?
A: I wanted to be part of something that is so great. The event brings people together, working together in teams to accomplish an otherwise impossible goal of building a robot from scratch in a short period of time. I enjoy interacting with the competitors from all over the province. It’s an amazing competition, high energy, and lots of innovative out-of-the-box thinking.
Q: As a volunteer, what tasks did you do?
A: My role has been robot inspector. I enjoy this role because I get to interact with the teams and inspect their robots, asking questions like “Why did you put that there?” or “What made you choose that type of motor?” I review a checklist of all the parts and assembly to make sure the teams follow the rules of the competition. We also look for anything that may be unsafe that could hurt people or damage any other robots.
Q: What was the most memorable thing you saw or did at First Robotics?
A: When you see a team’s reaction to their robot working as designed, it’s great. You can see how it boosts their self-esteem and confidence.
Q: Did you learn anything during this volunteer experience that you were able to apply in your studies or career?
A: I learned that getting yourself out there and being surrounded by other people who have similar interests, is very powerful. To take part in activities such as this makes me feel involved and included. It is a blast!
Q: Did you find it helpful to have this volunteer experience on your co-curricular record when you went to apply for jobs?
A: Yes, the co-curricular record is very useful for job searches and interviews. It gives you something to talk about when your potential employer asks about it.
My volunteer work also led to other things, including a part-time job at Georgian assisting an academic technologist, and a scholarship called the Wysoglad Opportunities Award.
I believe my work with research and innovation at Georgian also played a large role in landing my full-time job at Busch Systems, where I work as an embedded systems developer. I’m implementing the newest cutting-edge technologies to new and existing waste recycling systems to reduce waste and improve diversion rates.
Q: Would you recommend this volunteer experience to others?
A: Yes! Volunteering for this event is highly recommended. It’s all about engaging the minds of the next generation, and giving them an amazing experience. You’re part of the excitement and experiences that will last their lifetime, providing a positive impact for everyone involved.
Register to volunteer
If you’d like to volunteer at FIRST Robotics from March 6 to 8 at the Barrie Campus, the first step is to register on the FIRST Robotics website, then complete the screening process and select a role for the competition.
There are technical and/or key volunteer positions, non-technical volunteer positions, and kickoff volunteer positions. Volunteering for full-day shifts is preferred and meals are provided throughout the day.
For more information, you can: