The modern education system is not organized to ensure equity of resources, opportunities, and contributions for all youths. While many students thrive from receiving the benefits of privilege and foundation, others, often women or those located in communities of poverty and minority demographics, face challenges that limit their opportunities. This disproportion is not due to a lack of competency or potential, but rather the inability of the current system to provide students the resources they need for success. The inequities restricting today’s youth as they strive to be successful leaders and innovators are one of the most pressing issues facing the world today. The Full Metal Beavers aims to combat this by motivating young people to pursue educational and career opportunities in STEAM-related fields, inspiring them to become leaders and innovators, and enhancing their self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. Through the promotion of equity, opportunity, and unity, we can reduce the disparity between the prosperous and the disenfranchised.
It all started from a small idea envisioned by our lead mentor, Dr. Raymond French. He was surprised to see the lack of STEAM representation in Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences, a high school located in Jamaica, Queens. He had the vision to introduce young students to STEAM, and that led to the creation of the Full Metal Beavers, a FIRST robotics team. Although the robotics team was great at generating leaders and enhancing students’ skills, we wanted to have a global impact so that we could extend our mission beyond the FIRST community. In 2017, our robotics team evolved into a nonprofit organization and we have increased our successes every year since. Today our organization is overseen by two mentors and comprises a total of fourteen student leaders of various departments and divisions. Our process is built around our core values of equity, unity, and opportunity; it strives to supply each and every one of our members with the encouraging environment they deserve.
Each of our four departments, Business, Engineering, Competitions, and Operations, has a director in charge followed by two to three managers of their respective subdivisions. These managers have collaborators working with them to accomplish the tasks. The mentors oversee the directors while the directors are in charge of their designated departments. This structure allows members to hold one another accountable and creates a sense of unity. Each year, we look for opportunities to grow and improve our structure. Last year, we were able to introduce a new division under the Business Department, Productions Division. They are in charge of producing quality videos and other forms of art to ensure that our team is being marketed well. Additionally, we were able to introduce new roles such as Executive Director, Film Editor, Film Director, etc. to ensure that our community was able to receive well-rounded content from the team.
Full Metal Beavers promotes equity, opportunity, and unity in various ways. We create pathways for young people to learn about STEAM and some professions such as Engineers, Video Editors, Web Designers, etc. While also building stronger individuals to ensure a brighter future for generations to come. By participating in robotics six days a week, members learn to advocate for themselves and enhance their life skills. The organization creates an equitable community for female students, black students, Latinx students, foreign-born students, low-income students, special education students, underperforming students, English language learners, LGBTQ+ students, as well as other marginalized groups. In addition to this, members are also given the opportunity to be leaders of various divisions and departments of the team. These responsibilities allow members to foster their own growth and develop their leadership skills. We have taken many initiatives such as hosting workshops, recycling plastic bottles, and volunteering to ensure that we are creating a better community for all and building a better future for the people in our community. We believe that it is our duty to enhance the state of our community by volunteering, hosting workshops, and info sessions so that the reach of our mission extends far beyond our members. We hope to transform the youth’s thinking so they can help people beyond our school and the team. Our mission is not limited to these four years of High School and our team. We want to mold their thinking and make them socially aware so they can take these lessons and provide the same services to others.
The first video is a youtube video about our team and how we promote equity, opportunity, and unity throughout our community. The second link is the link to our website in which you can learn more about our projects and our team. The last 5 links are Instagram posts that show how we promote equity, opportunity, and unity. You can feel free to check the rest of our Instagram to see our recent projects.
Jeez! This is amazing. First off, I'd like to commend all of you for seeing the value and the very real impact of strong networks. While reviewing all of your artifacts, it is clear that you are all a very tight knit community with eyes and thoughts on the future of the group. It was also very clear that thoroughness is something you all hold to high regard. I commend you all for finding value in the art of documentation as well. I absolutely love what you are all doing in exposing young black and brown folks to careers and experiences in STEAM. This is the type of work that definitely has an impact in the long run. When I was teaching in High School, I also started a student tech team focusing on STEAM and 5 years later-- this group of STEAMers are still in touch and are all studying STEAM related fields... this is a testament to the power of the work that you are doing. As someone who has recently been running entrepreneurship work for my organization, it is very interesting to see that you all took steps to becoming a non-profit. As for feedback, I really think it would be super cool if you all were to develop a framework or a model that you can pitch to other schools following your procedures and protocols.. Perhaps next steps might be to make a chapter styled system so the leaders in your groups can then be regional and national leaders and educate the rest of the country about the amazing stuff you are all doing!! Great Work!
The way the organization comes together to tackle a variety of issues is astounding. As one of the other judges said, please look for these types of clubs on college campuses and continue your great work! The structure of the organization reminds me of my time at The Civil Air Patrol right here in NY!
This looks like a fantastic organization. I enjoyed reading through your slide deck and website, as they are both beautifully designed. One thing I noticed your group does very well is use an iterative design approach. This is a great way to develop ideas into strong products. There are many similar organizations and clubs to the Full Metal Beavers on college campuses. I encourage your members to seek participation opportunities in these sorts of clubs and communities after high school.
I love how passionate you all are about creating opportunity, equity, and unity in tech. We need more people like you in the industry! I am so inspired by your goals and how you work together. The design of this presentation is fantastic. Really great color choices and fonts. I really enjoyed getting to know your team and how the Full Metal Beavers works, but I wonder what the impact would be if the project was moved up in the deck. I could also see there being one or two overview slides about the Full Metal Beavers, followed by the project and then additional team info. Everything you’re doing as a group is setting you up to succeed as software engineers, no matter what you focus on. At Fullstack Academy, we really focus on pair programming, and it’s great to see that you’re already putting that skill to the test! It will really help you stand out, and we'd be honored to welcome any of you as a student!
Such an incredible network of inspiring humans! a true community of agents for social change. All the ideas shared here are deeply grounded in making positive impact in the world; sometimes we get lost in technology defining our behavior and way of living but you have preserve the notion of technology being at our service. Your presentation is very thorough and detailed, and the transparency of your design process is commendable.
I am so inspired by your team. Your friendships, the shared support, your team's values, creativity and hard work will stay with you long after you graduate, regardless of where your futures take each of you. The bonds you make in programs as important as this one will last forever.
The recycling project looks like a great way to clean up your school. I wish you all luck in expanding that for the future.