MCALLEN, Texas – Jason Arms, executive director of FIRST in Texas, has announced a $50,000 donation from Panasonic Corporation for robotics programs in McAllen.

Arms told the Rio Grande Guardian: “Panasonic’s manufacturing facility, here in McAllen, is offering a $50,000 grant in grant scholarships for McAllen ISD’s schools, to fund their robotics teams at all grade levels. We are really excited about the news and we are really appreciative of the impact the Panasonic Corporation grant will have in McAllen.”

Randy Ashley, president of FIRST RGV, was also interviewed for a podcast about FRIST RGV. “It is an excellent opportunity to utilize this money to deliver the STEM programs that FIRST RGV has,” Ashley said. “We often struggle to deliver our programs because of financial limitations. This is going to give us an opportunity to grow our program here in the Rio Grande Valley.”

STEM stands for Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics.

The FIRST in Texas Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that supports robotics teams and events across Texas with a focus on increasing accessibility for low-income and underrepresented students. According to the group, student participants are “significantly more likely to attend college, major in science or engineering, and be outstanding future employees and citizens.” The group’s website states that by investing in Texas students’ participation in FIRST, “we address the growing demands of the STEM workforce.”

The attached podcast also explains how FIRST RGV has overcome the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. And, also in the podcast, Arms teases that he will have some big announcements about FIRST coming soon.


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