Thanks to the generosity of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC), three St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) robotics programs received funding just in time to prepare for the 2015 competition.  Piney Point Elementary, Ridge Elementary, and Spring Ridge Middle School robotics teams will each receive a portion of a $4,000 grant to assist with equipment purchase and competition fees.   

Scott Stewart, Corporate Lead Executive for NGC, Naval Air Systems Command Patuxent River, presented the $4,000 check to the SMCPS at the November 25th Board of Education meeting.  “Northrop Grumman is committed to supporting educational initiatives and is pleased to sponsor these programs.  Robotics is a great tool for students to explore all areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and help students develop interest in STEM related fields” said Stewart. 

Southern Maryland robotics programs have experienced steady growth over the past few years.  Bonnie Green, Executive Director of The Patuxent Partnership said, “We are encouraged to see the expansion of robotics programs, particularly in schools which have not previously participated.  However, as these programs grow, so does the need for community support and sponsorship.  We are proud to have members such as Northrop Grumman actively support these educational initiatives.  We see great value in these programs and hope other community leaders will see the value and join in as well.”

Cain Sauer, Robotics Coach at Ridge Elementary, said the number of students interested in being on the team far exceeds the school’s resources. The Ridge team was created this year following a donation of a robot kit and competition table from The Patuxent Partnership.  “We didn’t expect to have so many interested students.  As a new team, we did not have the funds necessary to buy all the equipment needed.  Thanks to Northrop Grumman’s donation, we will be able to buy two additional robot kits to accommodate all of our students.  It really is an investment in our future, not only as a team, but as a community” said Sauer.

In addition to the three robotics programs, Northrop Grumman also provided funding for a new Science and Engineering Fair Mentorship program for local high school students.  This pilot program was developed by two NAVAIR/NAWCAD physicists and provides mentorship to participants as they prepare projects for regional and state competitions.

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