MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Mountaineer Area Robotics known as, MARS, hosted their open house Wednesday evening in Morgantown on the campus of West Virginia University.
MARS’ Mission is to inspire youth in rural and undeserved areas of the state through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics programs. The program involves a lot of community outreach and development of technical programs designed to instill practical life skills in its members. Team members were able to show attendees what they do as part of a robotics team.
“Being on this robotics team has honestly changed me as a person in ways that I cannot really, like I don’t know how to say it, it’s just really nice,” said Nick Giggenbach, a driver and mechanical member of MARS.
MARS guides its members to have a strong work ethic, strong dedication and commitment to team and community, and develop strong organizational skills.
“One of our main core values of FIRST is coopertition and gracious professionalism. So, we embody teamwork, like helping build each other up but at the same time competing and trying to have fun,” said Emza Shackelford, an electrical lead for MARS.
If you would like to become a sponsor and help Mountaineer Area Robotics which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in its efforts to teach and instill STEM skills in its members you can make a contribution on their website.
“So, one of the cool things is to see the students we’ve graduated from the high school program go tO various universities including WVU and sort of push for robotics activities, and now WVU has a very strong robotics research program and competitive teams that have won now national competitions,” said Earl Scime, Chair of Physics and Astronomy at WVU.
In 2018, MARS Competed at three regional events: The 2018 Palmetto Regional, 2018 Smoky Mountains Regional, and 2018 Buckeye Regional. During the Palmetto Regional, MARs Competed against 64 teams. The team won the event for their very first time after having competed after having competed at it four times before. in the 2018 Smoky Mountains Regional MARs was ranked first out of 51 teams and won the event for the third time. At all three events MARs won the Quality Award and captained an alliance into subdivision finals.
“West Virginia Teams are incredibly competitive, our rookie team made it to the world championship this year as well, and that is a team from Parkersburg, West Virginia. So, in their first year they made it to world, West Virginia actually has a long history of very competitive teams at the national level. This is great, we have great students, they are very capable, we have great mentors, and the teams are mechanically programing, electrically very competitive and they do very well on the national statge,” said Scime.
MARS was founded in 2008 by 12 students and a handful of mentors. It was formed primarily by the prior students of FIRST Lego League team.