So it's no secret to say that the Orlando Regional Competition is one of our favorites. And one of the best parts of our coverage is when Terri Willingham stops by for a chat. Terri was formerly a Regional Director with FIRST. She loved organizing these events and working closely with the teams as they navigated their way through the robotics program. Her new position, as Director of the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation (FCDI), is her most rewarding role yet.
Terri and her husband Steve are now able to take all of the knowledge gained with FIRST a step further with the foundation and AMRoC (Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics Center). They are in the process of building out this manufacturing and robotics center that will be home to a permanent FIRST Robotics Competition field, as well as an FIRST Tech Challenge field and a couple of FIRST LEGO League tables. It will give students a place to come to be creative, build their robots and then test and practice. The dream is to have the makerspace easily accessible with all of the tools available for building and repairs.
Everything started to come together about a year ago when Terri applied for an Argosy Foundation Grant. The application of these funds, as well as other donations, have been disbursed directly to local community groups and programs, such as Robotics Tampa Bay and FIRST teams. It's tough to make real changes when trying to tackle challenges as a national level. She now realizes that by concentrating her efforts hyper-locally, it is easier to leverage community engagement. Thus putting money, manufacturing and jobs in the community. The philosophy is basically that we can change the world in our own back yards and then scale it up from there. At the local level, you can apply a thousand dollars and see actually the impact it creates.
Make sure to watch our interview with Terri and learn more about all of her exciting upcoming ventures. Then stay tuned to watch them grow and even join in the efforts by volunteering along with all of us.
Support our coverage by shopping Amazon here.
Whether you're programming a robot, playing a game or doing homework, the Microsoft Surface is the tablet that can replace your laptop. Get yours at the Microsoft Store.