BASF donates $5,000 to high school robotics team _lowres

Photo provided by BASF -- BASF employee volunteers and student mentors present earlier this month the Robot Ascension team with a $5,000 donation. Gathering, first row from left, are Robot Ascension team members Hunter Ordeneaux, Kyle Arant, Cameron Simmerman, Logan Ford and Lee Faught; second row, Theresa Ordeneaux and Shane Dugas, BASF employee volunteers and student mentors; Robot Ascension team members William Demourelle, Mack Allen, Aiden Reed, Kaci Breaux, Susan Allen, and Sarah Hughey; Alan Smith; BASF employee volunteer and student mentor; and Phil Blanchard, Robot Ascension team leader; and third row, Robot Ascension team members Zack Lebeau, Don Hidalgo, Marcus Barnes, Ryan Stelly and Tyrus Rodrigue.

BASF presented a $5,000 donation to Ascension Parish’s high school robotics team, Robot Ascension, earlier this month to help the team prepare for the national For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology robotics competition in 2015.

The donation is part of BASF’s ongoing effort to promote and improve science, technology, engineering and math education in schools, a news release said.

It is the second year BASF has supported Robot Ascension, the release said.

Along with the donation, employees from BASF’s Geismar site serve as mentors to the East Ascension, Dutchtown and St. Amant high school students taking part in the team. Computer science teacher Phillip Blanchard leads the team. BASF also supports a junior-level robotics team for students in sixth through eighth grades at Central Middle School in Ascension Parish.

“Robotics is an exciting field that challenges students to combine academics and creativity in team projects that have a direct link to real-world industry applications,” said Tom Yura, senior vice president and manager of the BASF site in Geismar. “This is a great example of how industry can support STEM education and inspire the next generation of scientists, researchers, inventors and innovators.”

FIRST is a multinational nonprofit organization that works to promote science, technology, engineering and math. The FIRST program provides teens with the opportunity to explore science in competition against thousands of other students.

Every year, the teams receive new challenges to design and build a robot to compete with other schools. In addition to demonstrating proficiency in science and math, the team members perform community services, mentor new teams and act as ambassadors for the program. Winning teams can qualify for nearly $10 million in college scholarships.

“Through BASF’s continued support of STEM education in our schools, our students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience that can prepare them for successful careers,” Ascension Parish Superintendent Patrice Pujol said. “It is through the generous support of our business partners like BASF that help to make Ascension Parish public schools one of the top-rated school systems in the state of Louisiana.”