In April 2023 JMark Services supported the Department of Defense SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program at the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Championship. FIRST is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18.
JMark employee Ms. Ericka Rojas joined the SMART Program Manager, Dr. Brandon Cochenour; SMART Deputy Program Manager, Ms. Corinne Beach; Director, and DoD STEM Director, Mr. Louie Lopez at the FIRST Championship in Houston, Texas. The Championship brought together approximately 50,000 people from around the world as hundreds of student robotics teams put their innovation, teamwork, and robotics skills to the test. DoD STEM is the largest sponsor of FIRST teams – DoD scientists or engineers across the Defense Components mentor over 1,650 teams nationwide. This was the first year that SMART attended the FIRST Championship, with the goal to promote the SMART Program to a highly motivated pre-college audience participating in a national STEM event. SMART’s engagement included:
- Hosting the SMART booth in scholarship row, which was one of the most visited booths
- Leading the SMART information session, which included a robust Q&A
- Networking with academia and organizations, fostering potential new and cultivating existing partnerships
- Attending robotics matches and meeting teams across the FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST Tech Challenge, and FIRST Lego League
- Volunteering as masters of ceremonies during several Tech Challenge matches
- Promoting SMART participation via social media by tagging FIRST and other partners in attendance, which immediately increased social media following