KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The robotics team at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts regularly competes in science fairs and different competitions to show off the machines they’ve built by hand.
Thursday’s MRIGlobal Science Showcase was a little more special for the kids though, as they got to meet famed scientist Bill Nye.
However, they didn’t just meet him. The robotics team got to demonstrate to Nye how a robot they built works.
“I kind of thought it would catch his attention, but not like it did,” Paseo sophomore Syania Williams said. “He was interested in it, asking questions and all. A little shaken by it.”
The team calls their robot “1763.” They put it together over the course of several months last school year.
“So, it sucks up the ball. We put the arm to the level we want. At the end of it, it has shooters, where it shoots out the ball and goes into the net,” Williams said.
This was for a regional science fair competition, where they were recognized as having one of the most innovative projects.
“We wanted to be different, so we did a different thing than other schools,” Paseo sophomore Jamar Davis said.
The fair is all about showcasing what MRIGlobal and the metro have to offer to the World of STEM. It’s also a celebration for the company, who’s been among the world’s leading research institutions for 75 years.
“We feel compelled to give back to them and just show them how much we appreciate what they’re doing by providing this showcase,” MRIGlobal President and CEO Tom Sack said.
For the Paseo robotics team, their invitation to this event and meeting Bill Nye was a cherry on top of a year of hard work.
“It made me feel great,” Davis said. “To know that our robot is getting a lot of attention from Bill Nye, that’s incredible to see that we worked this hard to get attention from Bill Nye.”
MRIGlobal has sponsored Paseo’s FIRST Robotics team since 2006. The company says over the years, it has mentored 150 kids from the school.
Since 2013, MRIGlobal has been awarded nearly $810 million in government contracts. The company says its spearheaded global health initiatives to help people with Ebola, cancer, Alzheimer’s and HIV.