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Avnet Community Relations
Avnet Tech Games supporting marketing collateral, submitted by Avnet.
With eight of the US Department of Labor's top ten most demanded employees coming from STEM fields, wise college students opt to pursue STEM careers. By providing students with an opportunity to apply what they learn in school to real-world scenarios and earn scholarships, the annual Avnet Tech Games (ATG) competition encourages their dreams, and also connects them with professionals who can help make their dreams a reality.
About Avnet Tech Games:
In 2013, dozens of Arizona college and university teams competed in a variety of competitive events covering engineering, IT, business, and environmental science disciplines at the ATG's Arizona on-site competition, while the virtual competition was open to students nationwide. The competition inspires and engages young people in a variety of ways:
Helps students learn skills that will prepare them for success in real-world positions.
Provides opportunities to network via a networking hour, which exposes students to industry experts in a relaxed social setting where they can ask questions and obtain insight into their STEM professions.
Awards $1,000 scholarships to winning students. Avnet has granted more than $260,000 in scholarships and honorariums to students and faculty members from 82 colleges and universities throughout the world since the competition began nine years ago.
Cross-functional core team continually improves program
As part of Avnet's objective to improve this competition's ability to develop future STEM leaders continually, a cross-functional core team outlines annual goals and objectives, listed below.
Provide robust experience for college students to obtain hands-on experience outside the classroom while connecting with local industry executives.
Demonstrate knowledge and competency in selected fields.
Exercise team-building, problem-solving, and creative skills.
Interact with college faculty and industry experts who can assist in offering counsel and insight that benefit the students' future job performance and ultimately develop their skills in order to assume future leadership roles.
Connect with local employers and showcase talents and abilities.
Obtain hands-on experience (see game descriptions below).
Leverage knowledge and skills of college faculty and industry experts to integrate real-world experience into the current curriculum.
Industry experts work directly with faculty members to develop competitive event criteria that expand the learning opportunity outside traditional classroom instruction.
Build upon student knowledge gained in the classroom by teaching students additional information on industry trends and standards.
Enhance curriculum and support successful teaching practices.
Hands-on experience for students
Several on-site and virtual competitive events include the following examples.
Android App Showdown: Students develop a mobile application for the Android platform.
Green Video Competition: Competitors combine video production skills, environmental awareness, and marketing skills to create a short video on environmental initiatives at their colleges.
Supply Chain Challenge: Students manage decisions regarding forecasting, inventory management, capacity management, scheduling, and pricing.
Build the Fastest Computer: Build, troubleshoot and tune a PC the fastest.
Desktop Domination: Complete a set of tasks and troubleshoot issues in the Windows 7 operating system.
Digital Design Dilemma: Create, validate, and document a FPGA design that works on a provided circuit board.
EMC Green Data Center Challenge: Design your own state-of-the-art data center.
Java Blitz: Develop an application using Java 7 Standard Edition.
Robot Race Obstacle Course: Build and program a robot to maneuver and tow objects through different courses.
Solar Scrimmage: Design, build, test and present the best overall solar-powered "green energy" water-pumping system.
Registered over 600 students: The event registered more than 200 students for the onsite competition and more than 450 for the virtual competition. It also hosted an educational session to teach students networking skills and put them to the test during the ATG Networking Hour, where they connected with industry executives. A special networking reception was hosted for more than 100 industry experts and Avnet executives to meet and mingle with faculty members and students.
Real-world impact on STEM:
Worked directly with faculty members to align the competitive events criteria with classroom instruction.
Formed partnerships with faculty that included in-class lectures, hands-on exhibits at college club events, serving on curriculum advisory boards, and mentoring students.
Awarded $12,000 in scholarships.
Provided career development opportunities for more than 70 Avnet employee volunteers to develop skills outside their day-to-day jobs.
Awarded faculty honorariums and prizes for the school, including equipment and software.
Through Avnet and its sponsors, hired more than a dozen interns/employees from students who participated in the ATG.
If you are interested in FIRST robotics, here is a story on EDN that talks about this year's FRC competition, where competitors have to complete their robot in a short time window. And, here's another story (shameless plug) that profiles the team my daughter competes with in FIRST Robotics FTC competition.
NI has also been involved with LEGO competitions, to the point where students use LabVIEW-based software to control robots. I recall an exhibit severalyears ago at the Boston Museum of Science on Lego Mindstorms.
Having witnessed the F.I.R.S.T. competions first-hand (sorry!), and as a mentor to Team 293 SPIKE, I would hands-down go with National Instruments. Their contributions to the electronic control and interface features on the robot challenges let high school students (and even some 8th-graders) gain the satisfaction, experience, and fun of creating a robot that they can control and be proud of.