This week The Body Electric attended the 2015 2nd Annual FIRST National Advocacy Conference hosted by FRC 27 Team RUSH. With over 30 FIRST teams from across the country, Team 1389 went to Capitol Hill to promote the The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We lobbied for the Franken/Murray/Kirk amendment, which would give increased state funding for afterschool STEM activities including FIRST programs.
We attended talks given by lawyer and lobbyist Jim Burger from Thompson Coburn LLC on Government 101, Tips for meeting with representatives, and FIRST’s Legislative agenda. Megan Wolfe, from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) spoke to us about the ESEA and how it has developed. FRC team 1086 gave a presentation on Bringing Advocacy Home and what our teams can do to promote STEM education and FIRST, year-round. Don Bossi, the president of FIRST also made an appearance and spoke about advocacy in our government.
The Body Electric networked and organized meetings with other Maryland Teams: FTC 7265 The Gear Grinders, FTC 8221 Cubix, FRC 2199 Robo-Lions, FRC 1111 Power Hawks Robotics, FRC 836 Robobees and FRC 2537 Atholton Space Raiders. We went to the offices of Maryland’s two senators, Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin. We also were able to meet our district’s representative Chris Van Hollen in person and talk to him about our team and FIRST. Our team also met with Steny Hoyer’s office to go over what the house can do to support after school mentor based programs. All of our meetings went extremely well and our representatives seemed very responsive to our message. Afterwards, we showcased LIftzilla at the Conference Reception. The Body Electric enjoyed attending the conference and getting to know many teams better.
We hope to return next year.
Here are all of the Maryland teams we worked with last week.
- FRC 836 Robobees – Leonardtown, MD
- FRC 1111 Power Hawks Robotics – South River High School, Edgewater, MD
- FRC 1389 The Body Electric – Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda, MD
- FRC 2537 Atholton Space Raiders – Atholton High School, Columbia, MD
- FRC 2199 Robo-Lions – Eldersburg, MD
- FTC 6284 RoboCavs – South Carroll High School, Sykesville, MD
- FTC 8221 Cubix^3 – Hampstead, MD
- FTC 7265 Gear Grinders – Glenelg Country School, Ellicott City, MD
We plan on doing more at the state and local levels later this year to leverage the knowledge we have gained from this experience.
Liftzilla getting around the Hill
Meeting With VanHollen
Thanks FRC 27 Team RUSH for pulling this together.