Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team 3930 adviser Daniel Lemieux, second from right in back, speaks to team members and others headed to China this month to help rookie teams with their robotics projects. Others are, clockwise from lower left, Team 3930 members Tanna Herlihy, Natalie Luce and Jonathan Brenner, Team 58 mentor Emma Dalton of South Portland, Team 3930 member Will Brenner, Team 3930 mentor Randy Luce and Baxter Academy for Technolgy and Science junior Julian Bernard of Portland. Absent were Team 3930 member Celia McDonald and Cheverus High School Team 5265 member Karen Nielsen of Augusta.

JAY — Some members of Spruce Mountain Area Robotics Team 3930 will experience the trip of a lifetime when they travel to China on May 26.

Team adviser Daniel Lemieux said members will join FIRST Robotics Competition teams from Gorham and Oakland in helping rookie Chinese teams prepare for a competition June 2-4 in Shanghai.

The invitation came from officials at FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — whose mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills.

For the few days of the trip, the Americans will tour the city, guided by a Chinese teacher who Lemieux hosted through American Foreign Services in 2001.

” … We will be arriving on a festival day,” Lemieux said. “We will be put up in Shanghai for two days to relax and tour the city.”


After that, Lemieux’s team will be paired with a rookie team from Beijing 80 Middle School that has built a chassis but needs help completing the robot.

SMART 3930 is developing a plan and a list of materials needed, and taking drawings of its robot, Lemieux said.

SMART team 3930 members heading overseas are Lemieux, Jonathan Brenner, William Brenner, Tanna Herlihy, Natalie Luce and Devon Darling. Randy Luce will serve as a mentor.

Also taking part are Emma Dalton, a teacher from South Portland and mentor for FIRST Robotics Competition Team 58; Karen Nielsen of Augusta, a member of Cheverus High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team 5265; and Julian Bernard of Portland, a junior at Baxter Academy for Technology and Science. His FRC team was a semifinalist at the FRC World Competition held in St. Louis, Missouri, in April.

Plane and bus tickets, travel documentation and a few other costs will be the responsibility of each participant. Most expenses while in China will be covered by FIRST.

Lemieux said SMART 3930 has some money remaining from its fundraising efforts earlier this year, but donations to cover costs would be appreciated.


On Monday at a meeting for those headed to China, he shared information from FIRST: “Since FRC began in 1992, over 5,000 teams and events have been organized all over the world. Thousands of Chinese students have been inspired to participate. Many lack technical skills, organizational abilities, robotics knowledge and other skills to carry out a productive and engaging experience.

“There are thousands of teams in the United States that have built rich robotics communities. Their skills and enthusiasm are the key link that can allow teams in China to develop the skills and local resources to create sustainable communities for their teams.

“China is experiencing a historically unprecedented boom in robotics capabilities. It is estimated that by 2018, China will account for more than one third of all industrial robots installed worldwide. Teams in the United States will have a unique opportunity to connect with the largest and fastest growing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) environment in the world.”

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