During the 2015-2016 school year, NBEF was instrumental in partnering with the school district to establish a robotics program for students at New Brunswick High School and New Brunswick Health Sciences Technology High School. This special STEM education endeavor is an extension of the success of the New Brunswick Middle School Robotics program that NBEF helped launch and has sponsored since 2011.
The Club currently has 20 student members (9th through 12th graders). With the assistance of three teacher/advisers, the club members meet after school twice a week, with extended hours during the competition season. Last year, ten team members even met over the Christmas break to accelerate robot construction and operation prior to their first competitive meet in January 2017.
As students join the club, they choose whether to be part of the mechanical group, which focuses on robot design and construction, or the computer programming group, which uses Java to program the autonomous portion of the competition and other robot functions, or the strategy group, which focuses on the rules and point values to determine which robotic tasks should be performed to earn the most points in the competition. All aspects interact throughout the design process and rely upon each other during competitions. While some students choose to grow within one area to become a leader or expert, most contribute to several areas and look forward to learning different skills from each other during off season meetings.
Several of the team members are planning to pursue careers in science and engineering. When the time comes for the students to complete their college applications, they will be able to note their involvement with the club to attest to their interest and learning experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
Each year, NBEF provides the NBHS Robotics Club with financial support by purchasing robotics materials and equipment, club t-shirts, and food for club members. NBEF has also hosted a culminating reception and awards presentation for participants where they demonstrate their robotics skills before and audience of parents, school district officials and sponsors.