The Global STEM Corps (GSC) is FIRST Global’s 21st century answer to a world in need of an inspired generation of young adults who are ready to tackle global challenges. Qualified GSC volunteers are part of an Advisor Team that mentors a FIRST Global national team as they build the robot. By working with students around the world as they engineer their robots, GSC volunteers help FIRST Global competitors attain all they are capable of and inspire them to pursue fulfilling, exciting, and rewarding lives through STEM. These community-based volunteers range from high school robotics teams and college students with robotics experience, to entire university robotics and engineering departments. The Global STEM Corps brings the universal elements of science, cooperation, and competition to the world stage.
GSC’s mission is to work with FIRST Global to equip, train, mentor, and inspire hundreds of students participating in the FIRST Global Challenge each year. The FIRST Global Challenge is a yearly robotics event focused on promoting STEM education and addressing one of the 14 National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges. The robotics game is being implemented in collaboration with the US National Academy of Engineering, Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Royal Academy of Engineering.
Volunteer Advisor Teams are paired with students in different regions around the world where young adults rarely have access to the levels of funding that are necessary to pursue serious STEM education. GSC Advisor Teams will use their knowledge and excitement for STEM to not just increase opportunities for FIRST Global participants, but to inspire them to become the next generation of Albert Einsteins, Mae Jemisons, or Stephen Hawkings.
In recent decades, higher-income nations have made significant advances and investments in STEM education, which have led to many of the most important discoveries of the modern era – from high-speed processors and hybrid engines, to advanced prosthetics and miniaturized drones. Unfortunately, since similar investments are not being made in less economically fortunate nations, hundreds of millions of students in the very countries where STEM education is most needed are being left behind – and will continue to be unless those with the knowledge and drive to make a difference step in to help.
"I have been a Global STEM Corps mentor for Team Honduras, both [in 2018] and . After so many adventures in FRC, I would have to say this is one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. The students of Team Honduras come from a remote village in the mountains of what is known as the Dry Frontier. Several of the team members walk an hour in the dark over mountainsides, just to go to school and build the robot. They had no knowledge of coding or robotics, they can't order replacement parts, and have limited access to computers. Yet they have overcome all of these difficulties. These kids are some of the brightest, most appreciative, and gracious human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. These are kids that are constantly told that they have little value. Many of the students told me that they wanted to show the world that the people of Camasca, Honduras are proud and strong. At [the 2018] competition, they placed #16 and won a Silver Medal for Engineering Excellence. It is impossible to describe what this meant to the students, their families, and the town of Camasca. The FIRST Global experience has given these kids a sense of self worth that would be hard to produce in any other way. I just wanted to thank the Ohio-based charity, Shoulder-to-Shoulder, for supporting the students through their journey. And I also wanted to thank all of the sponsors, volunteers, mentors, and organizers that made FIRST Global possible. You are changing lives!"
"FIRST Global gave us the opportunity to make a difference in the world, not just locally, but halfway around the world. We were able to meet people from all across the globe and learn about their lives."
In preparation for the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge, over 600 volunteers participated in the Global STEM Corps, adopting a total of 84 participating nations. The teams ranged from entire FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams, to university students and engineering departments, to professional engineers. These volunteers balanced their busy schedules, time differences, and technological challenges to inspire these teams. The 84 teams that requested help had little to no robotics experience and the Advisor Teams virtually mentored them to success! They provided teams with mechanical, electrical, programming, and strategic advice.
As a GSC volunteer you will have the opportunity to interact with individuals from dozens of countries and backgrounds online and over the phone from your home, office, or anywhere else with an internet connection!
Volunteers will be tasked with virtually mentoring FIRST Global teams in countries participating in the upcoming FIRST Global Challenge. This is through an Advisor Team, where one volunteer or group of volunteers adopt a country and works with them on a weekly basis to prepare them for the FIRST Global Challenge. Individuals signing up to be part of the Global STEM Corps will be assigned with other individuals based on time zone and background so a balanced Advisor Team can be formed. Special requests are taken into consideration with forming an Advisor Team. Language skills are also a main component of who an Advisor Team is assigned to.
Groups, such as university engineering departments or robotics teams, can sign-up to mentor a team as a group. Language skills and educational background are taken into consideration when assigning an Advisor Team to a FIRST Global team.
GSC Advisor Teams are asked to make themselves available to the team(s) they adopt for several hours at least once a week, with the time spent mentoring students spread throughout the week or on a specific day each week. If more than one person adopts a team (e.g., a group of two or three individuals work together to help a single nation), the time commitment from each person could be less, so long as the team continues to receive the level of help it needs to finish its robot. A weekly report on how the team is progressing is also required.
The Global STEM Corps needs people like YOU to help build the most successful, technologically capable generation to date. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can create a better world for everyone. Registration will soon open for the 2019 season.
All questions about becoming a member of the Global STEM Corps may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.