January Staff Spotlight: Brian Grindstaff

Brian Grindstaff

Experimental Machinist, College of Natural & Applied Science

The words “milddle-schoolers” and “space elevators” aren’t often used in the same sentence, but they are a large part of this month’s Staff Spotlight nomination.    In his off hours, experimental machinist Brian Grindstaff  uses his experience and knowledge to mentor a local robotics group comprised of Pershing Middle School students.  These ambitious students participated in BEST Robotics, a competition that asks students in grades 6-12 to complete a particular type of robot with limited resources.

“We only have six weeks to have a fully functioning robot,” writes Grindstaff, “and we can only use the materials that are given to us.  The game is a scenario where robots might be used.  This year the theme was the space elevator,   so the kids had to research space transport and write a report on some aspect of space travel.”  In addition to building the robot, students must also document their process in an engineering book, which is also submitted for a grade.  The Pershing group ended up placing 3rd locally, and 21st out of 35 (dominantly high-school) teams at the regional championship.

Grindstaff has been involved with the game for a number of years, both as a coach and as a judge.  For his ethical leadership and community involvement, we are pleased to recognize Brian as January’s Public Affairs Spotlight!

Brian and students working on their robot the day before the competition.
Brian and students working on their robot the day before the competition.
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