Investing in the Future: Minnetronix Mentors the Next Generation of Engineers and Innovators

April 14, 2016 - Ian Wichmann, Software Engineer

STEM has become a popular philanthropic focus for many companies. At Minnetronix, we too recognize that hands-on experience is one way to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Since 2007, Minnetronix has connected with aspiring young engineers through our sponsorship of Team 2491 No Mythic, a FIRST Robotics team. In addition to financial support, several of our employees help mentor the team of local high school students. This year I joined my colleagues Kelli Greenberg and Alan Bowman to lend assistance to the No Mythic software division during their six-week robot build season.

FIRST provides a hands-on framework for students to learn about science and technology, but also what it takes to manage a startup business. In six weeks flat, the team had to take on the serious work of designing and building a robot to perform specific tasks during competition, all while figuring out real world issues like division of labor, timelines and budgets. I watched the students navigate all sorts of business and technical issues that ultimately taught them the value of problem solving, how to communicate effectively, and the importance of verification. In fact, it reminded our Minnetronix mentors that we ALSO experience these types of challenges in our daily work, reinforcing the skills we need to use to be successful in our endeavors for our customers. There’s a universal need to address and solve problems and hurdles in every technology project!

Team 2491 No Mythic had a great season and performed well at the regional competition. In the end, it’s really not all about the wins, but these students shared a lot of pride from their victories along the way. Working on a genuine design and build project provides experience that will undoubtedly help shape their interests and equip them with the skills necessary to succeed.