MSU Receives Motorola Grant To Support Robotics Programs

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VEX robots in competition. MSU photo.

VEX robots in competition. MSU photo.

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Michigan State University has received $50,000 as part of the Innovation Generation grant program from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions Inc.

This is the fifth consecutive year that MSU’s College of Engineering has received funding through the Innovation Generation program.

The grant will support MSU’s Spartan Middle and High School Robotics Program — beyond FLL (FIRST Lego League).

The Motorola Solutions Foundation’s Innovation Generation program is designed to inspire students to learn about science, technology, engineering and math. Innovation Generation funding equips students with the skills essential to both their lives today and their future success through funding, employee volunteers and intra-grantee collaboration. This year, the program will provide $5.5 million to K-12 programs across the United States, including MSU, to support hands-on, innovative after-school programs, science and math clubs, teacher training and mentoring programs.

The Spartan Middle and High School VEX Robotics and FIRST Lego League programs currently engage 250 middle school and high school students — primarily from the mid- Michigan area — with a continuum of innovative engineering experiences, mentoring and collaboration with Michigan State University’s College of Engineering students.

“This funding from the Motorola Solutions Foundation will allow us to expand our engineering outreach efforts, like VEX Robotics, into the Detroit and West Michigan schools,” said Drew Kim, assistant to the dean for recruitment, scholarship, and K-12 outreach in MSU’s College of Engineering. “With this Innovation Generation grant we are able to double the current number of teams — from 5 to 10 — targeting new areas and schools that are economically challenged and diverse. Teachers from our future partner schools have already been engaged in VEX Robotics training sessions this summer in preparation for the upcoming VEX Robotics season, which begins in the fall. We anticipate an additional 50 active team members, and another 200 students involved as indirect participants, as a result of this grant. In addition, plans are underway to introduce robotics curricula in several of the schools sponsored and mentored by MSU.”

Added Matt Blakely, director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation: “The future of American innovation depends on a diverse pipeline of critical thinkers who are well versed in STEM principles. Through the Innovation Generation program, we are thrilled to partner with programs like Michigan State University to provide students and teachers with the necessary tools to explore their STEM interests and pursue innovation.”

Innovation Generation is a part of Motorola Solutions’ larger commitment to engaging youth in STEM education. Beyond funding, MSU will receive ongoing support from Motorola Solutions employee volunteers, who will act as mentors, tutors and experts in STEM careers, which utilizes the expertise of Motorola Solutions’ work force to inspire the next generation of inventors. MSU also now is part of the Innovation Generation network, where it can create vital connections with hundreds of other organizations with the common vision to make a greater impact on STEM education.

Founded in 2007, the Innovation Generation grants have awarded more than $25.5 million to STEM programs nationwide. For more information on the grant program, please visit www.motorolasolutions.com/giving.

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