Investing in the best

By Website Administrator | Apr 22, 2004

Kettering awards $180,000 in scholarships to some of the country's best high school students during the FIRST championship in Atlanta.

Kettering University continued its tradition of recruiting the country's top science, math and engineering students when it awarded $180,000 in scholarships during the international robotics finals of FIRST in Atlanta, Ga., April 15-17.

FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology - is an international effort to inspire young people, their schools and communities toward an appreciation of science and technology, and an understanding that mastering these enriches lives, said FIRST founder Dean Kamen '01.

"At FIRST, our goal is to help students discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology," Kamen said. "The real influence comes from being part of a team, being valued, being accountable, interacting with mentors, fulfilling tasks, meeting deadlines and objectives, reaching beyond one's own capabilities and being aware and appreciative of community and business support."

Bob Nichols '74, vice president for Kettering's Corporate Relations and Enrollment Services, said FIRST is an important mix of educators, business people, and youth. "The significance of FIRST is taking a student who may have little interest in engineering and science and watching them transform into leaders and team builders," he said. "These FIRST Scholars are the best students I have seen both academically and in leadership skills in the many years we've done this as a university," he added.

Each FIRST Scholar is awarded a $20,000 scholarship, for use during four years of studies at Kettering. Students must receive acceptance for admission to Kettering and submit an essay that shows demonstrated leadership on a FIRST robotics team.

The nine 2004 FIRST Scholars at Kettering are:

  • Edward Bretzloff of Goodrich, Mich. He is a member of Team 494 - the Goodrich Martians, the team that won the 2004 International FIRST Championship as part of a three-team alliance during games in Atlanta. Along with winning the '04 international competition, the Goodrich Martians won two other awards at contests in Atlanta: The Motorola Quality Award for creating a lean, mean robot machine and the Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship Award for going above and beyond to assist a rookie team from New York in rebuilding its robot in 10 hours so the team could compete in the international games. Bretzloff is a senior at Goodrich High School. He is the son of Ed and Kelly Bretzloff of Goodrich. Bretzloff's great grandfather Stephen Sapelak attended Kettering/General Motors Institute. The Goodrich Martians are partners with Kettering University in hosting the annual Kettering Kickoff robotics contest each September.
  • Heather Chemistruck of Windsor, Conn. She is a member of Team 571. She is a senior at Windsor High School in Windsor, Conn., and is the daughter of Ronald and Cathy Chemistruck.
  • Jordan Doll of Clarkston, Mich. He is a member of Team 33, the Killer Bees. Doll is a senior at Notre Dame Preparatory in Pontiac, Mich. He is the son of Janet and Jeff Doll of Clarkston. Team 33, the Killer Bees, won the Delphi Corporation's Driving Tomorrow's Technology Award during the international contest in Atlanta. The award was presented to the team by J.T. Battenberg III '66, who is Delphi's chairman of the board, president and CEO. Team 33, the Killer Bees, won the 2003 Kettering Kickoff. Doll is also a 2004 recipient of an ASME-ASME Auxiliary FIRST Clark Scholarship from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, based in New York City.
  • Bryan Duggan of Ortonville, Mich. He is a member of Team 27, Team Rush. He attends high school at both Brandon High School in Ortonville and OSM TechAcademy in Clarkston, and is the son of Brad and Susan Duggan of Ortonville. Duggan's family has a Kettering/GMI tradition. Bryan's Dad, Brad, is a 1981 GMI graduate, Brad's sisters, Paula Degeneffe '80 and Cheryl Reichert '83, are both graduates and so is Cheryl's husband, Fred Reichert '83.
  • Alexander McGee of Holly, Mich. He is a member of Team 68, the Truck Town Thunder. He attends high school at both Brandon High School in Ortonville and OSM Tech Academy in Clarkston. He is the son of Steve and Tracey McGee of Holly. Team 68, the Truck Town Thunder, were part of a three-team alliance that won the 2003 Kettering Kickoff.
  • Erik Solecki of Flushing, Mich. He is a member of Team 468, Baker Explorers. He is a senior at Flushing High School in Flushing the son of John and Marlene Solecki of Flushing. Team 468 is one of the co-hosts of the annual Kettering Kickoff competition.
  • Theresa Thompson of Toledo, Ohio. She is a member of Team 279, Tech Fusion. She is a senior at Robert S. Rogers High School in Ohio and the daughter of Lori and Tim Thompson of Toledo.
  • Mike Tyner of Royal Oak, Mich. He is a member of Team 1188, the Oak Town Crewz. He is a senior at Dondero High School in Royal Oak and is the son of Linda and John Tyner of Royal Oak. The Oak Town Crewz participated in the 2003 Kettering Kickoff.
  • Kurt Wachowski of Lake Orion, Mich. He is a member of Team 27, Team Rush. He is a senior at Lake Orion High School and OSM Tech Academy in Clarkston. He is the son of Ray and Colleen Wachowski of Lake Orion.

The 2004 FIRST Robotics Competition in Atlanta attracted 20,000 participants and almost 300 high school robotics teams from the United States and Canada. Almost 7,000 of the country's top science, math and engineering students attended the games at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

This year's game was called FIRST Frenzy: Raising the Bar. Robots built by high school students and their mentors collected 13-inch balls and passed them to human players, who shot them into fixed and moveable goals. Teams gained extra points when robots successful placed 30-inch balls into special goals and if the robot was suspended from a 10-foot bar at the end of the match.

During the 2004 contest, Michigan sent the most high school teams to the international finals with 31 teams from around the state participating. California followed with 21 teams and there were 18 from New York. In all, $4.5 million in FIRST scholarships were presented by about two dozen colleges and universities in the United States.

For more on FIRST robotics, visit: www.usfirst.org.

Written by Pat Mroczek
Photos by Pat Mroczek
(810) 762-9533
pmroczek@kettering.edu