Thousands of students from dozens of countries are in Detroit this week competing in the biggest youth robotics event in the world.
Still, organizers of the FIRST Championship hope it gets a lot bigger.
President Don Bossi (BOH’-see) says FIRST has a presence in only 12% of U.S. schools.
He and others with the Manchester, New Hampshire-based nonprofit are trying to attract more students, including from under-represented communities.
Mary Pangowish (PONG’-wish) is the captain of the First Nations STEM team that qualified for its first FIRST Championship. The 17-year-old says her Ontario-based squad is the only one here made up entirely of indigenous students.
Pangowish says she remembers her reaction when introduced to robotics as a middle schooler as, “That is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”