STEM Guyana grabs the 27th spot in FIRST Global Robotic Challenge


STEM Guyana has, once again, ‘pulled off’ an impressive performance at the FIRST Global robotic Challenge which was held virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team – the youngest to date to take part in this competition for Guyana – placed 27th out of over 160 participating countries. The 13 and 14-year-olds were chosen after they excelled during the various training programmes organised by STEM Guyana.

During an interview with the Guyana chronicle, team coach, Arrianna Mahase expressed, “It was yet another amazing experience as every other year despite not being able to work on a complex robot and then meeting for competition. Even so, we were still able to network with STEM enthusiasts like ourselves from across the world and learn so many new skills”.

She further articulated that the competition was completely different this year because of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. “Usually, we have to build a robot to complete a challenge in three to four months and then compete abroad. This year, however, it was a series of challenges (social media and technical) as well as STEM talks. The challenges really opened our minds up to the broad range of skills that are necessary for successful robot building such as 3D-modeling, as well as skills that are important for being able to share your team’s story and journey, like animations and graphics designing,” she said.

Mahase noted that, although team Guyana didn’t receive any individual awards this year, they managed to leave the competition at spot 27 out of 160 plus countries. “That fact as well as the numerous skills that the team has learnt and the networks that they have built are enough for us to say that it was once again a successful FGC season. We also won a robotics kit which is really great because we usually have to buy one every year and it’s expensive,” she said.

It was also noted that team Guyana produced great work for some of the challenges, since its submissions were featured, multiple times in the FIRST Global newsletter.

Meanwhile, STEM Guyana co-founder, Karen Abrams, told Guyana Chronicle that she was proud of the team.

“Once again Guyana’s youth made us proud. This year we fielded the youngest senior team to represent Guyana, and, although they encountered a few challenges, they delivered for Guyana. These global events are important because they inspire our youths across the country and generate an interest in STEM. STEM teaches critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and conflict resolution and these are strengths we desperately need in all fields of study to efficiently develop Guyana. These young people continue to inspire me and make me proud,” she stressed.

Former First Lady, Sandra Granger, in reviewing the success of the STEM programme which was launched in August 2016, had recalled how well the Guyana team performed at the FIRST Global Challenge in 2017. They placed 10th out of 165 countries. STEM Guyana has since been offering various STEM-related courses across Guyana.