Fueling Innovation and Discovery

In addition to supporting ongoing in-classroom robotics mentorship programs and student robotics competitions, NI works with nongovernment organizations and educational institutions to support afterschool programs, workshops, and summer camps that introduce students to STEM concepts. The goal of these programs is to fuel innovation and discovery among youth and inspire them to pursue careers in engineering and science.

NI engages in strategic, long-term collaborations with organizations in the communities where the company’s employees work and live. A few of the organizations that NI partners with include Girlstart, which empowers girls in math, technology, and science; Penang Science Cluster, which aims to help the city achieve excellence through technical innovation; and the Sunflower Mission, which is devoted to improving the lives of people in Vietnam through educational programs. NI helps organizations like these by donating employee volunteer time, financial support, and technology.

Case Study: Inspiring Future Engineers in Indonesia

NI teamed up with the LEGO Foundation to help facilitate a three-day robotics workshop in Jakarta for children from the city’s underserved schools. At this workshop, 30 children, who under normal circumstances would never get the chance to put their hands on LEGO MINDSTORMS®, got to spend a few days solving open-ended challenges while building, programming, and having fun. During the workshop, students learned to build and program robots to perform specific functions and the workshop concluded with a robotics competition that put their new skills to the test. After the event, teachers and students took the robotics sets back to their schools to integrate robotics into their education programs.

Cambodia School Learns the Value of Robotics

McKay Bradford

NI Senior Software Engineer and Breakthrough Austin Volunteer

For the past three years, McKay organized and led a group of NI volunteers to incorporate robotics into Breakthrough Austin's summer program math and science curriculum. He volunteered his time preparing robots for students; writing directions and curriculum; training summer program teachers; and planning, staffing, and refereeing the competition. Teams of Breakthrough Austin students built and programmed robots that played against one another in a simplified version of soccer. “Working with these Breakthrough students has been a lot of fun. I'm thrilled at how engaged they have been at these events. I was hoping to find a way to teach programming and problem-solving concepts in a way that wasn't too boring. What I got was a crowded room full of students cheering like mad!”

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