Monday, July 8, 2013

MASEE Graduate, Mr. Bobby Garcia, Takes Robotics Team to Win After Win--and Learning About Robotics All the Way

Mr. Bobby Garcia (far left) with Robotics team and
special guest- Manor New Tech HS-- May 9, 2013

Here is a story about Mr. Bobby Garcia by Christine Benson of the College of Education's Communications office at The University of Texas at Austin and his robotics team at Manor New Tech High School in Manor, TX. Mr. Garica is a graduate of the MASEE program that is offered at the College of Education from within the STEM Education Program. MASEE is funded primarily via the "UTeach Engineering" grant from the National Science Foundation of which I am a Co-Principal Investigator. To date, the MASEE program has graduated 30 in-service teachers with at least another 20 in the pipeline. -Dr. Petrosino 

Bobby Garcia, a graduate of the College of Education’s Master of Arts in STEM Education - Engineering (MASEE) program, is inspiring students at Manor New Tech High School to win. Garcia is lead mentor for the school’s robotics team and under his tutelage Team TEXplosion has garnered local, state and national awards.

Earlier this year, the team won at the FIRST Lone Star Regional Robotics Competition in Houston, which qualified them for the FIRST Championship Robotics Competition in St. Louis, MO, in April. In  the past they’ve also traveled to farflung spots like Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City to compete.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions are among the most prestigious high school tech tournaments in the country and often are hailed as the World Cup of Technology and a “varsity sport of the mind.” They’re open to high school students who are interested in science and technology and, in addition to building tech knowledge, aim to boost students’ social and  leadership skills.

“This past school year, I convinced my school administration to allow me to offer a course for our FIRST Robotics Competition group,” said Garcia, who has taught at Manor New Tech since it opened in 2007, “and I helped create and run a course for our junior varsity FIRST Technical Challenge. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to teach either of those courses last had it not been for my experience in the MASEE program.” —Christine Benson, College of Education Communications Assistant

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