In a normal year, FIRST Robotics teams build out robots in schools or community centers, then compete in front of hundreds, if not thousands of family members, friends, volunteers and fans (like in the photo above, in February 2020).

But this year has been anything but normal.

Still, teams found ways to come together, learn and teach each other about building robots, teamwork and community. Some met in person with a few students at a time, some met virtually for the season. FIRST in Michigan offered a variety of ways for teams to participate. Teams had the option to describe and show off their robot (modified from last year), present a game that they developed, or identify a problem and develop solutions or create a business model to address it.

We know how critical is to build innovative skills and introduce energy as a career choice to help us continue to develop clean and affordable energy for our future. This is why the DTE Foundation sponsored 25 FRC, or high school teams and 25 FTC, or middle school teams this year. Numerous employees spent their time volunteering or mentoring teams as well.

“DTE knows that by investing in FIRST robotics, we are investing not only in the future of our company but the future of the communities where we live and serve,” says Tracy DiSanto, manager of Workforce Planning and Analytics.

Robotics itself is a strong community, which helped students during this difficult year. Lizbeth Morales from the Kinematic Wolves says, “We’re all a team, meaning we’re all family. So especially during these times, we like to check if one another is ok.”

In our latest video, we share why it’s important to support STEM and FIRST. We also hear from students on how they were innovative and creative this year.

On May 15, FIRST in Michigan broadcast their Awards show. Congratulations to our DTE Foundation sponsored teams the Kinematic Wolves, M.A.R.S. Rovers, Cow Town Robotics, and the Cougar Pack for winning awards this season. Also featured during the awards are Ryan Stowe, vice president, Distribution Operations, and his daughter Julia sharing why FIRST is important to them and how FIRST helped Julia learn about engineering and teamwork. – watch the interview at 17:05.

We’re so proud of what our teams accomplished this year, and we can’t wait to see the teams in person on the playing field soon. 

If you would like to learn more about our FIRST robotics partnership, or learn more about volunteer opportunities, please email FIRST_ROBOTICS_DTE@dteenergy.com or visit First Robotics – Empowering Michigan.