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58 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2022 Feature Interview and Photos by Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 Today's students grow up immersed in a world of technology, yet how many of them actually see themselves taking on careers that advance this science? Since many of the jobs for our future workforce haven't even been created yet, what can be done to encourage students toward STEM careers? In this interview, Barry Matties speaks with Adrienne Collins, director of pro- grams at FIRST ® Washington, about the suc- cess of a student robotics program that fosters innovation, builds problem-solving skills, and cultivates a concept that most of us have never heard of—gracious professionalism. When you see the interplay of these skills in action, you are blown away. ere's a bright future ahead. FIRST Program Inspires Next Generation of Innovators Barry Matties: Adrienne, we're at a FIRST robotic event today. What is your involvement with FIRST? Adrienne Collins: I run all the programs in Washington state, which includes FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Chal- lenge, and the FIRST Robot- ics Competition (FRC). I got involved when my daugh- ter's friend started a team in 2007, and we got sucked into it. I've been doing it for 16 years because it's so fantastic. I became a full-time staff member in 2014 when we started man- ROBOTICS TEAM SPECIAL REPORT

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