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!