KCC’s Bruin Bots robotics team seeking members

Bruin Bots summer camp participants work during camp in 2013.

Kellogg Community College invites sixth- through ninth-graders from Calhoun County to join the Bruin Bots, a team that will build and program a competition robot as part of KCC’s Regional Manufacturing Technology Center (RMTC) programming.

The team, which begins practicing for its second year of competition Sept. 10, will be affiliated with FIRST, a national nonprofit that encourages young people to explore science and technology.

“Our partnership with FIRST has been great and we’re really excited to dive into our second year of programming,” said Robb Cohoon, coach of the Bruin Bots and adjunct instructor at KCC. “In our first year the kids learned so much about designing and building working robots, but they also learned how to work as a team and developed their leadership skills.”

The Bruin Bots will participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge, a mid-level robotics competition that allows young people to design, build and program robots; apply real-world math and science concepts; develop strategic problem-solving, organizational and team-building skills; compete and cooperate at tournaments; earn a place in the world championship; and qualify for over $16 million in college scholarships.

The competition team is part of an expansive Bruin Bots robotics initiative at KCC designed to promote STEM learning in youth throughout the region. The initiative also includes spring and summer robotics camps; mentoring to start or enhance other local K-12 teams; an after-school robotics club; community workshops and classes; and access to KCC Industrial Trades faculty for assistance with designing and building customized robot parts.

“KCC’s goal is to build the community’s capacity to offer more STEM opportunities for youth,” said Kimberlee Andrews-Bingham, the team’s administrator and KCC’s Workforce Solutions coordinator. “We want to show students how exciting this kind of hands-on learning can be and help local schools and organizations find more ways to engage students like this. We know these are the skills needed to be a part of tomorrow’s confident and prepared workforce in Calhoun County.”

To offset program costs including team uniforms and a toolbox and tools for each student to keep, a small registration fee of $20 will be charged for each Bruin Bots participant. Scholarship funds to cover this fee may be available to eligible students. Those interested should contact Bruin Bots staff.

No special skills or knowledge are required to participate on the team, but space is limited and spots will be filled on a first come, first served basis. The team’s first practice, which will include an opportunity for parents to sign release forms and meet the instructor, will begin at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the RMTC, 405 Hill Brady Road, Battle Creek.

The team will practice from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Sept. 10 through Dec. 19.

For more information or to pre-register for the team, contact Andrews-Bingham at 269-565-2802.

For more news about Kellogg Community College, view our latest press releases online at daily.kellogg.edu/category/press-releases.