“Mission 200 empowers teachers to support their students to compete in VEX IQ robotic competitions,” explained Dean Nicholas J. Giordano. “Our college is helping to prepare the next generation of students to pursue careers in STEM.” Mission 200 provides more than $1,400 worth of equipment and supplies to each participating school including VEX IQ competition robotic kits and field and game pieces. Teachers also receive a hands-on, two-day training workshop and support throughout the academic year. The goal of the Mission 200 program is to start 200 new VEX IQ teams at elementary and middle schools in rural, urban and under-resourced schools. Training sessions were held at various geographic locations to make it easier for teachers to attend. “I want to encourage my students to pursue their passion in STEM through starting a robotic team at my school,” shared Pepper Dellinger, a teacher from Drake Middle School.Pepper Dellinger and Yolanda Jones worked together during the two-day training to learn how to build the VEX IQ robot from the kit. “Being part of this training helps me picture how I will implement VEX IQ into my classroom,” explained Yolanda Jones, a teacher from John P Powell Middle School. “Being exposed to this training means that I can really help my students prepare to compete in tournaments.”

During this workshop, teachers were able to learn how to build the VEX IQ robots, ask questions and network with other educators.“With this training, I can be a role model for girls in my middle school and get them interested in robotics,” Dellinger added. “This could help them get excited in a career that they may have not thought of before!”Wendy Simmons and Tracey Lee from Coppinville Junior High School in Enterprise, Alabama, were excited to have the chance to attend the hands-on training workshop. “This training program gives us the knowledge to help our students when they are building these for competitions,” Lee shared. Alan Odie from Loachapoka High School and Corey Harris from Opelika Middle School worked together to learn how to build the VEX IQ robot. “This is a great opportunity for me to encourage my students,” Harris said. Each school commits to sending their team to participate in at least one VEX IQ competition during the school year. “Outreach programs such as Mission 200 are absolutely essential so that all schools have an opportunity to help their students experience STEM by building robots and participating in a team environment,” shared Mary Lou Ewald, director of outreach for COSAM. Mission 200 is proudly supported by the Southeastern Center of Robotics Education, The Daniel Foundation of Alabama and the REC Foundation. To learn more about Mission 200, visit scoreau.org.