B&W Tek, Inc., an advanced instrumentation company that delivers lab quality Raman spectroscopy solutions through user-friendly mobile platforms, recently conducted an interview with Tom Zawislak (Director of Quality, B&W Tek) in recognition for his contribution and involvement with the FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics program and Pennsylvania FIRST Robotics.
FIRST, founded in 1989 and based in Manchester, NH, is devoted to inspiring young people’s interest and participation in science and technology while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. There are a total of 4 programs in FIRST with a common mission: Jr. FIRST Lego League, FLL, FRC and FTC.
“We encourage students to continue in scholastic and career paths in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) but it is in no way a prerequisite,” says Zawislak, who has been involved with FIRST programs for 14 years. “For all of the students involved I have witnessed how much they learned not only about STEM but about themselves, their hidden skills and true capabilities to succeed in life.”
Zawislak now serves as the Affiliate Partner for the FTC Robotics program, as well as Chair of Pennsylvania FIRST Robotics, but was first bitten by the “robotics bug” when his sons both participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition in Delaware during their senior years in high school. After becoming a team booster, mentor of FRC and core team member of the FIRST Lego League program in Delaware, Zawislak soon moved on to a more forward facing role as an emcee and game announcer in the FTC program, where he was soon invited to join as an affiliate partner.
“Robotics is a very challenging environment where the robot is only the vehicle for learning,” Zawislak explains. “The truly hard skills that students learn are team and literacy building, presentation and communication skills, resource and time management, failure and success and other life-long attributes in addition to mechanical, electrical and programming skills. Building employable skills that enhance their contribution to our world and society is the most notable outcome of the FIRST® program.”
Families of other B&W Tek employees also have students in the FIRST programs and many B&W Tek employees have volunteered in the workshops, practices, scrimmages, regional and state-wide competitions. Tom is extremely appreciative of B&W Tek as a primary sponsor for the time and resources they’ve provided him in order to maintain his involvement in these programs.
“I continue to coach an FRC team as well,” says Zawislak. “FIRST Robotics is one of the most rewarding and energizing things I have personally ever done. The reward comes in sharing the excitement and passion for learning that the students in the program have… Robotics is just plain fun too, the hardest fun you will ever have.”
For more information on the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics program and the 3 other related programs, visit: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc
For more information on Pennsylvania FIRST Robotics, 3 other visit: http://www.ftcpenn.org/
For more information on USFIRST, visit: www.usfirst.org
About B&W Tek, Inc.
B&W Tek is an advanced instrumentation company that delivers lab quality Raman spectroscopy solutions through user-friendly mobile platforms. B&W Tek provides solutions for the pharmaceutical, biomedical, physical, chemical and research communities. Our commitment to innovative solutions has made B&W Tek a leader in Raman spectroscopy solutions worldwide.
B&W Tek, Inc.
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