These Teenagers Are Advancing Latin America’s Education Agenda Through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

 

Youth from Every Latin American Nation Will Unite with the Globe to Participate in World’s Only International Robot Olympics for High School Students

 

For Immediate Release
25 July, 2018

Alexandria, VA. – This August in Mexico City, FIRST Global (www.first.global) is hosting the second iteration of the world’s only international robot Olympics for high school students with more than 180 nations planning to attend, including teams from every Latin American country. Participating teams will include attendees from every corner of the world, from Afghanistan to Bhutan, Syria to South Sudan, Israel to Iran, and Native Americans to Kurds, making this a truly global event.

For full list of participating Latin American nations, see image below.

With a mission to spread science and technology leadership and innovation amongst the world’s more than two billion youth, FIRST Global has worked to ensure that countries from all six populated continents would be represented at the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge – especially those that have the most to gain from investments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and infrastructure.

The theme of this year’s event is “Energy Impact”, highlighting the importance of various energy sources and looking into how we can make them more sustainable. Teams will align with each other to fuel power plants, activate renewable energy sources, and build a resilient transmission network. This competition will not only provide an opportunity for students around the world to learn and discover more about the exciting world of robotics, but will also teach them the importance of working together with their peers — regardless of their place of origin, creed, religion, or race — to build a better tomorrow.

Mexico, Venezuela, Honduras, and Colombia are among the Latin American countries competing in this year’s FIRST Global Challenge because they understand the importance of investing in STEM education and infrastructure. With the support of governments, nonprofits, corporations, and individuals alike, increased investment in STEM education will lead to widespread enhancements in standards of living as youth transform into the innovators and leaders of tomorrow.

The FIRST Global Challenge is a time when countries come together to solve universal problems and use their abilities to build a better world. As the host country of this year’s Challenge, the youth representing Mexico understand the potency of STEM. The members of Team Mexico see themselves as agents of change that bring science and technology closer to the young people of their country, promoting their intellectual development. As one member of the team said, “Representing Mexico is a great commitment for me because we want to show that Mexico is not a stereotype and it has the talent to do great things.”

Team Mexico’s Profile Video

In countries where STEM programs are still in their infancy, such as in Venezuela, youth are pioneering the way. A group of young Venezuelans started an organization called Venebot to teach Venezuelan kids useful tech skills through robotics. Despite the social unrest and impaired infrastructure in their country, Team Venezuela, hailing from Maracaibo, is determined to show the world that Venezuelans have what it takes to showcase tech skills on the world stage. This team sees the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge as an opportunity to overcome challenges and push toward high goals for both themselves and their country.

As one member of Team Venezuela said, “For us, difficulties are equal to opportunities. We want to change our country for the better and we want to change the world.” These teenagers know that true world prosperity comes when everyone works together and supports each other in developing the resources that will tackle global challenges.

Team Venezuela’s Profile Video

The students representing Honduras come from remote villages in the Intibucá region of Honduras, where the majority survive on less than $2 a day. Despite having no prior experience with robotics, as well as very limited access to technology resources, these students understand the immense power of science and technology education in shaping the lives of those in their community and throughout the country. This team sees robotics as an opportunity to “save the world,” and they are excited to build up their community by sharing their knowledge and opportunities.

Team Honduras’ Profile Video

In a field where women have been historically marginalized, FIRST Global is pleased to announce that not only is the organization hosting a number of all-female or female-majority teams at this year’s event, but over 60 percent of the teams attending the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge were either founded, organized, led, or brought into being by women. FIRST Global participants from all over the world will continue working hard until all students, regardless of sex, have equal opportunities to pursue careers in STEM.

An all-female team comprised of three girls from Palmira, Colombia is representing South America this year as one of six continental teams. These young women are passionate about helping society and want to be the change their continent needs. Through experimentation, dedication, and continual innovation, they believe they can shape a brighter future for everyone. As one team member put it, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” These young women serve as a powerful example of the inspiration and empowerment STEM programs provide to youth who are given the opportunity to take advantage of them.

Team South America’s (Represented by Colombia) Profile Video

Latin America has made significant strides in economic growth in recent years – largely due to its plethora of natural resources. However, the region as a whole still has much potential for improving its standards of living and overall economic growth through the pursuit and development of technology and innovation. By stressing the importance of developing STEM skills, and convincing government and nongovernment organizations to focus their efforts on investing in their youth, future generations can help Latin America catapult into one of the most technologically advanced regions in the world.

Latin American Nations Attending the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge

 

National Teams: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Continental Team: Team South America (represented by Colombia).

Total: 24 teams


To learn more, contact:
press@first.global

FIRST Global Mission: The FIRST Global mission is to inspire science and technology leadership and innovation in young people from all nations in order to increase understanding, instill the importance of cooperation, address the world’s most pressing issues, and improve quality of life for all. This mission is accomplished through the FIRST Global Challenge, which culminates with an international robotics game that will rotate among different nations each year. By showing the youth of the world that if they communicate, cooperate, and work together using the tools of science and engineering to find solutions to the world’s grand challenges – water, energy, security, medicine, food, and education – they will be able to accomplish great things and become part of a truly global community.

FIRST Global Challenge: The FIRST Global Challenge is an annual robotics game that will address one of the 14 Grand Challenges identified by the national engineering academies of the United States, United Kingdom, and China. Each year, a different issue of global importance will take center stage as the theme of that year’s FIRST Global Challenge, which will be held in a different nation across the world.

FIRST Global’s Global STEM Corps: The Global STEM Corps (GSC) is FIRST Global’s 21st century answer to a world in need of an inspired generation of young adults ready to tackle global challenges. Through GSC, grassroots volunteers work to motivate students across the globe to pursue fulfilling, exciting, and rewarding lives through STEM education by mentoring them for an “Olympics”-style robotics event. These community-based volunteers range from civic minded high school and college students, to entire university robotics and engineering departments. The STEM Corps brings the universal elements of science, cooperation, and competition to the world stage by connecting mentors and FIRST Global competitors online and over the phone – making it possible to stay in touch anytime, anywhere.

FIRST Global’s Higher Education Network: Leading universities around the world including Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Yale and Technion are among the founding members of the FIRST Global Higher Education Network. Participating institutions in the FIRST Global Higher Education Network are partnered with their nation’s FIRST Global robotics team and provide them with technical mentoring (on the tasks associated with designing, building, and programming FIRST Global robots) and guidance to inspire the next generations of leaders in STEM.

FIRST Global Founder: Dean Kamen is a prolific inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology innovation. His roles as an inventor and an advocate are intertwined with his passion for practical, real world uses of technology, and his personal determination to spread excitement for and the virtues of STEM to the more than two billion youths around the world. Dean’s drive comes from his firm belief that the tools of science and engineering will help equip the world’s youth to solve the most pressing global challenges we face as a planet, both today and tomorrow.