One Tough Nerd Meets the Robots

By Mike Brownfield | April 16, 2013

Imagine hundreds of high school students gathered in head-to-head competition, fighting for victory on the field, cheered on by thousands of screaming fans. No, it's not football or soccer they're playing. Instead, they're piloting remote-controlled robots designed and built with their own hands.

That was the scene on Saturday at the FIRST Robotics Competition held at Eastern Michigan University. Governor Rick Snyder stopped by the event to cheer on the competitors and highlight the importance of mentoring young people while giving them exposure to science, technology, engineering and math. Events like the FIRST Robotics Competition, Snyder said, are great ways to do just that.

"As a proud nerd, this is probably the easiest event to get me to come to in my time as governor," Snyder said. "The greatest asset, the greatest resource we have in the State of Michigan are our people, and in particular our young people. And that's something we need to invest in."

Snyder explained that in order for our young people to develop the skills they need to succeed, he's pursuing a strategy he calls "The Three Cs" -- collaborating with job creators to find out what their needs will be in the future, creating talent with the right kind of education, and connecting talent with opportunity. 

"The best illustration is right here. If you look at the young people out there, it's the interaction with the mentors and the private sector teams," Snyder said. "One of the best ways to get young people excited about a future is having mentorship opportunities."

Snyder pointed to his own experience and said that mentorships helped him achieve success in his career -- and it's something he enjoys doing today. 

"The best part is, now as an old guy, I get to mentor people myself," he said.

Click here to learn more about the FIRST Robotics Competition