Since their rookie year in 2008, the SOTAbots have been brightening the Tacoma community by making STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education more accessible to all. A high school robotics team in the FIRST Program (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), this team collaborates withmembers from SOTA (School of the Arts), SAMi (Science and Math Institute) and iDEA (Industrial Design Engineering and Art), innovative high schools within the Tacoma Public School District. FIRST teams have 6 weeks to design, build, and program a robot and then compete with teams from around the world. However, for the SOTAbots, FIRST is about much more than building a robot.
The SOTAbots are dedicated to their mission of bringing STEAM education to the the Tacoma community, teaching about robotics and FIRST whenever and wherever they get the chance. This winter alone SOTAbots visited more than 50 elementary and middle school classrooms and started weekly visits to the Adams Street Family Shelter, a homeless shelter for women and children. The team also visits Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Tacoma’s Children’s Museum and Lemay’s America’s Car Museum on a regular basis. The team has logged an impressive 1,700 hours of community service just this year.
The zeal of STEAM education in the SOTAbots has not only helped them make a difference in the place they call home, but also has won them numerous awards in the international FIRST program. They are widely recognized by the robotics community of the Pacific Northwest, winning the prestigious Chairman’s Award at our region’s championship for multiple years. This award is the highest a team can earn in FIRST, and “honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST” by promoting science and technology in their greater community. This year, the SOTAbots won Chairman’s at their Pacific Northwest District Championship. They were semi-finalists in their division at the World Championship in Houston, Texas. And they wereawarded the World Championship Engineering Inspiration Award, one of three teams out of the more than four hundred competing to be so recognized. This award carries some additional perks and automatically qualifies the SOTAbots for the Word Championship in
2020 with NASA picking up the $5000 entrance fee! The SOTAbots are proud to represent their community.
To learn more about the SOTAbots, view their award-winning Chairman’s