Schaumburg, Ill., 17 April 2008 – For nearly 20 years, Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) have worked together to introduce students to the limitless opportunities available in engineering and technology careers. This year, the Motorola Foundation has provided nearly $860,000 and more than 100 volunteers to support 15 FIRST Robotics Competition teams and 110 FIRST LEGO League teams that introduce students to the exciting real-world applications of engineering and innovation.
“Robotics mania sweeps the country each school year as next-generation inventors construct six-foot, 120-pound machines to compete in this global competition that has the energy and excitement of a rock concert,” said Eileen Sweeney, director of the Motorola Foundation. “FIRST Robotics is a shining example of educational programs supported by the Motorola Foundation that are transforming the image of science and engineering and inspiring kids to innovate.”
Students across the globe competed in regional FIRST Robotics Competitions for a chance to advance to the FIRST championship in Atlanta this week. Motorola salutes the eight company-sponsored teams – from Illinois, Florida, New York and Georgia – who are competing with their robots before an audience of thousands at the Georgia Dome. More than 220 high school students participated in Motorola-sponsored teams this year.
The Motorola-funded teams have been very successful this competition season. The Chicago-based After School Matters-Roberto Clemente High school team was the overall winner of the Midwest Regional competition. Additionally, the New York Patchogue Medford Raiders were honored with the New Jersey Regional Chairman’s Award.
In addition to the FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students, FIRST LEGO League robotics competitions engage students 9-14 years old. With a focus on igniting a passion for science and engineering among girls, Motorola sponsored 90 new all-girl FIRST LEGO League teams this year. The Cobalt Blue team from Illinois won the Illinois State competition and advanced to the LEGO League World Festival taking place concurrently with the FIRST Robotics Competition.
“Our support always includes mentors and creating connections between kids and engineering role models who open their eyes to possibilities for their futures,” Sweeney added. “The Motorola volunteers who participate in this program each year offer their time and their expertise to inspire tomorrow’s great inventors.”
A founding sponsor of FIRST, Motorola has provided continuous financial and personal support, investing $13.8 million and countless volunteers hours in the organization since its inception in 1989. Motorola also has contributed to FIRST’s global expansion, funding teams and regional competitions in Chile, Germany, Brazil and Israel this year.
According to a Brandeis University study, when compared to a group of non-FIRST students with similar backgrounds and academic experiences, including math and science, FIRST students not only are more than twice as likely to pursue a career in science and technology, but also are nearly four times as likely to pursue a career in engineering. Through FIRST, students build self-confidence, teamwork and leadership skills. FIRST reports that 87 percent of the high school competitors and company mentors have stayed involved year after year. Several former FIRST student participants now are Motorola employees and FIRST mentors.
“It’s great seeing students get excited about the science and engineering fields, especially the ones who have not had much exposure in this area,” said Julie Atkins, a Motorola engineer and current mentor for the WildStang team Rolling Meadows and Wheeling high schools in Illinois. “We see a lot of growth in their development and in the way they feel about themselves and the concept of a team.”
Motorola employee mentors volunteer their time and energy to coach FIRST teams, helping students understand engineering fundamentals, designing and building team robots, developing a strategy and fostering a sense of teamwork and collaboration. This year, more than 100 Motorola employees volunteered in state competitions and coached eight teams across the United States.
About Motorola Foundation
The Motorola Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola. With employees located around the globe, Motorola seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships, fostering innovation and engaging stakeholders. Motorola Foundation focuses its funding on education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. For more information, on Motorola Corporate and Foundation giving, visit www.motorola.com/giving.
Motorola is known around the world for innovation in communications. The company develops technologies, products and services that make mobile experiences possible. Our portfolio includes communications infrastructure, enterprise mobility solutions, digital set-tops, cable modems, mobile devices and Bluetooth accessories. Motorola is committed to delivering next generation communication solutions to people, businesses and governments. A Fortune 100 company with global presence and impact, Motorola had sales of US $36.6 billion in 2007. For more information about our company, our people and our innovations, please visit www.motorola.com.