PCE Outreach News


March 29, 2023


Grand Valley State University's Allendale campus held First Robotics on the weekend of March 25 and 26 where 40 high school robotics teams, coming from as far away as the community of Wilson in the Upper Peninsula, were eager to compete in the strategic and fast-paced game of Charged Up!  

This year’s game was designed to address global challenges related to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #7, focused on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.  For the casual observer, the matches appeared to pit two three-team alliances against each other to move game pieces and come to rest on a small, tippy platform by the end.  But to the FIRST team members, coaches, and mentors, the game was about offense, defense, strategy, and concerted efforts to create balance.  

The Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at GVSU has a long history of supporting FIRST robotics. Hosting a regional competition is just one piece of PCEC’s commitment to FIRST robotics. Behind the scenes, the college hosts kick-off events, workshops, and Robot-in-3-Days (Ri3D) events for college alumni teams, supports Graduate Assistantships for students to mentor within local high schools, awards $40,000 in scholarships each year to first-year GVSU students, and supports local off-season events with volunteers.  

The acquisition of the Shape Corp. Innovation Design Center allowed for a whole new level of community engagement, as it had enough room for a full-size FIRST practice field to be customized each year for teams to use on weeknights and weekends.  From February through mid-April, there are usually four to six teams collaborating, scrimmaging, and tweaking bots at the field.  It is a high-energy space that draws in families, GVSU students, mentors, FIRST alumni, and industry partners. 

Two high school seniors were awarded GVSU FIRST Scholarships at this year’s opening ceremonies.  Luca Freise hails from Novi High School and competes with Team 503: Frog Force.  Madelyn Rynsburger is currently dual-enrolled at GVSU, and will be graduating from Zeeland West High School in the spring.  She is on Team 85: B.O.B. (Built on Brains). 

We would like to recognize the following industry partners for their continued support of FIRST Robotics at Grand Valley State University: Atomic Object, Consumer's Energy, Disher, DTE Energy, Flexco, Haworth, Huizenga Group, Industrial Control, JR Automation, Koops Automation Systems, Lacks Enterprises, Meijer, NN, Inc., Pepsi, Perrigo, Pioneer Construction, RoMan Manufacturing, Rose-A-Lee Technologies, the Sebastian Foundation, Stryker, Wolverine Coil Spring, Dave VanderRoest, Ivan and Mary Ivanov, Mr. & Mrs. David P. Leclerc, and Wendy Ljungren. 

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Page last modified March 29, 2023