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.
The 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.
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."
Since the inaugural 2017 FIRST Global Challenge, a combined total of 196 participating FIRST Global teams have been assisted by 158 Advisor Teams. Well over 1000 students, mentors, and individuals have dedicated their time to ensuring every participating FIRST Global team receives the help they need each year in order to successfully build a competition ready robot. The Advisor Teams range from entire FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams, to university students and engineering departments, to groups of professional engineers. These volunteers have balanced their busy schedules, time differences, and technological challenges to inspire these teams. 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 a group of volunteers adopts a country and works with them on a weekly basis to help them prepare for the FIRST Global Challenge. Most teams work together at least once a week through Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, or other instant messaging services. Advisor Teams are not required to visit the country, or purchase an official FIRST Global robotics kit, although teams interested can do so through Rev Robotics. Your role as an Advisor Team is to guide your assigned team in the robot build process, but not build the robot for them!
While requests to work with a specific team are taken into consideration, the overall need of a team is placed above this. Some participating FIRST Global teams do not need assistance, especially if they are already an existing robotics team or have other experience building robots. The teams that participate in the Global STEM Corps have little or no experience. Language skills are also a main component of who an Advisor Team is assigned to. We especially encourage teams that are fluent in Spanish, French, Arabic and Portuguese to apply!
The Advisor Team program is open to high school robotics groups, university engineering departments, and groups of professional engineers who have organized themselves into a group. If your team is interested in being part of the official program, all requests to work with a team need to come through FIRST Global. Please do not reach out to a team on your own as you (and the team) will not be considered part of the official Global STEM Corps.
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. Generally, teams have a call on Skype, WhatsApp, or Google Hangouts (or any method of video calling), and then exchange messages through the week. 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. The GSC is not currently accepting applications for the 2020 season. Please use this form to sign-up to receive updates as they become available.
All questions about becoming a member of the Global STEM Corps may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.