For the 2018-2019 academic year, the Bosch Community Fund awards Black River Technical College $15,039 to increase STEM interest in middle school, junior high school, and post-secondary students using drone technology. The Bosch Community Fund supports the local communities of Bosch facilities, like Walnut Ridge Bosch facility, the through invitation-only competitive grant competitions.
BRTC will use the grant funds to purchase equipment for use by the BRTC precision agriculture courses: 10 inexpensive practice drones, 10 computerized drones, 10 iPad Minis for drone programming, and 8-lesson drone curriculum.
“Bosch has long been a great partner with BRTC in enhancing student learning,” said interim president Dr. Jan Ziegler. “This project, which allows us to integrate drone technology into our Agriculture program, and further to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) teaching and learning through work with younger students, is very exciting for all involved. The campus and those we serve are grateful beneficiaries of the generosity and commitment of Bosch, a world-class company whose emphasis on the latest technologies is reflected in this exciting new project they have made possible.”
BRTC Foundation Board Chair Stephanie Sutton says the Foundation appreciates Bosch’s support: “The BRTC Foundation would like to extend its deepest gratitude to Bosch for selecting us to receive the Bosch Community Fund grant. Bosch has always been very supportive of both the college and Foundation, and we are grateful to have such a valued business partner in the community.”
As part of the grant activities, drones will be incorporated into BRTC’s new precision agriculture course where college students will learn how to use drones, program them, and write computer code to send drones on missions. During the summer, BRTC precision ag students and the BRTC agriculture instructor will work with 4-6 and 7-8 grade students during 1-week summer STEM drone camps.
Research shows that introducing STEM to students in middle and junior high school, especially girls and low-income students, is highly effective in recruiting students into STEM careers. Further, exposing this same age group to college and collegiate activities increases post-secondary enrollment. According to Rex Flagg, BRTC science department head, “Bosch’s support of science education is invaluable in helping our youth develop an interest in the technology needed for the future of our community.”
BRTC appreciates the support of both the Bosch Community Fund and the Walnut Ridge Bosch facility.
About the Bosch Community Fund
The Bosch Community Fund, the U.S.-based foundation for Bosch, has awarded over 20 million in grants to various 501(c)(3) organizations and educational institutions. The BCF focuses primarily on the enrichment of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and the advancement of environmental sustainability initiatives.
Photo: Steve Engelken, Walnut Ridge Bosch plant operations manager, presented the check to Stephanie Sutton, BRTC Foundation chair. Also pictured are, in front, Tracy Brock, Bosch human resources manager; Dr. Jan Ziegler, BRTC interim president; and, in back, Rex Flagg, BRTC science department head.