Team 2614: Mountaineer Area Robotics (MARS)
Mountaineer Area Robotics (MARS) Team 2614 from Morgantown, West Virginia was honored with the 2017 Championship Chairman’s Award at the St. Louis World Championships.
The MARS Mission:
The MARS mission is to inspire youth in rural and underserved areas around the world to pursue their creative and intellectual passions. MARS does this through community outreach and the development of technical programs designed for students to learn practical life skills. Using robotics as a foundation, MARS encourages West Virginia students to pursue post-secondary education. The team is extremely proud that 100% of MARS graduates have gone on to pursue college careers, many with a full or partial scholarship. They helped incorporated LEGO Robotics and Core Values into the curriculum in 3 schools in their county, so much so that more children in the area compete in FIRST than in football.
In addition to their strides in schools in their community, Team 2614 also hosts an off-season event unlike any other.
THE MARS PLAN
- One of MARS’ biggest initiatives is utilizing and growing the MARS Plan. The MARS Plan is composed of five main focus areas when growing FIRST in our community:
- Engage: The first step includes presence at community events and programs to increase visibility in our community. Through the years, they have found that just a single interaction can unfold into an entire new robotics program.
- Inspire: MARS stays in contact with parties that show interest in starting a robotics program. Through a delegated student or mentor they provide information to interested individuals and provide instruction for coaches.
- Sustain: One of MARS’ most important projects is to work closely with other nearby FIRST teams. In order to help sustain these teams, they stay in constant contact with them, mentor them, and volunteer at FIRST events.
- Progression of Programs: MARS actively helps groups evaluate their resources to identify programs which can work best in their unique situation, but they also encourage students to progress to higher programs such as FTC, FRC, etc.
- Creating Leaders and Innovators: The final goal of our plan is to help students gain valuable life skills which will aid them as they head toward high school graduation and beyond. To support this continuation to higher education, MARS’ events and competitions are held at universities around the state, which help create a sense of familiarity with post-secondary educational institutions. Conversely, the institutions recruit and provide scholarships for participants. More information on the MARS Plan can be found at marsfirst.org/our-plan Example documentation (business plans, Chairman’s Submissions, etc.) can be found at marsfirst.org/mars-documentation
West Virginia Robotics eXtreme
WVRoX was the first FRC endurance event–26 hours and 14 minutes of nonstop action. It was also the first FRC competition ever held in West Virginia. In the summer of 2016, West Virginia University again offered three $4,000 renewable scholarships for participants. This event runs biannually, alternating with their Mountain State FLL International Invitational. These events are held in an effort to spread STEM in West Virginia, specifically to students.
Named after their late founder and mentor Phil Tucker, the Tucker Team Initiative assists younger or less experienced teams at competitions. Team 2614 uses their student-run Robot Help Desk to help teams in their pits with robot troubleshooting and repair.
More information can be found here: Tucker Teams
St. Louis Championship
Chairman’s Award Winner
- NASA Robotics Alliance
- United Way
- West Virginia University
- Mon County Board of Education
- Aurora Flight Sciences
- WV Space Grant Consortium
- Mylan Pharmaceuticals