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Rural Matters

Jul 29, 2019

Michelle chats with three experts on STEM education and robotics: Daniel Mehay, Dan Mantz, and Tim Heffernan.  Daniel Mehay is the owner and founder of FTW (For the Win) Robotics, which explores the STEM principles behind drones and their expanding use in society. Dan Mantz is the CEO of Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, and Tim Hefferman is the Tim has a accountProgram Manager at Pennsylvania Rural Robotics Initiative and the Gifted Support Teacher at Franklin Area High School in Pennsylvania. One of the real upsides of STEM is that the pay for employees is this field is considerably above the national average. Mehay discusses the FTW program, which focuses on the many uses of drones, including photography, crop management, and search and rescue operations — all important activities for rural communities. Heffernan notes that there are now 11 school districts in Pennsylvania participating in his program, but in the very near future, the number of high schools participating is expected to rise fairly dramatically. Mantz describes how once people in rural communities who are exposed to robotics competitions, they begin to understand the real upside for both students and the community. Anecdotally, he notes, on the first day of school this year, four teachers approached him about being involved in a robotics competition.

This episode was sponsored by Bryan Telemedicine,; Phynd,; and REC Foundation,