It’s not typical to see dozens of high school student engineers in 30 Rock's Studio 8H — or on sound stage 1 on the Universal Lot.
In May, NBCUniversal hosted about 80 high school student participants from the non-profit, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), an effort focused on inspiring young people to become science and technology leaders through robotics competitions. FIRST participants include top high school students who have already shown achievement in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
Over the past academic year, about 100 NBCUniversal and Comcast employees mentored high school students from Robotics teams we sponsor in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia, and Orlando. Three of the teams were in the Los Angeles and New York areas, including: Double X, Robo-T Birds, and NohoRobo.
Steve Lapinski, CIO of NBCUniversal Film & West Coast TV, encouraged students to continue to study STEM subjects as they enter college. "Careers in STEM fields are essential as we adopt technology faster than ever," said Lapinski. "We’re educating you today in the hopes that you will lead tomorrow's innovation."
From Media Labs demos to on-air talent – including NBC4’s Anthony Yanez and MSNBC’s Joy Reid – and tours of the production facilities, NBCUniversal mentors showcased how the intersection of media and technology has limitless opportunities for bright engineers.
“I was definitely the most excited to see new technologies like Oculus,” said Zach Arata, a student at Mahwah High School. “I can’t believe I was able to try the goggles on, it’s unreal.”
The FIRST mentor/mentee appreciation event succeeded in fostering a connection between the student technologists and NBCUniversal.
“Hearing executives and on-air personalities talk about the amazing job opportunities in tech makes me really excited about a possible career at NBCUniversal,” said Brearley School student Claire Recamier. “I’m really just thankful to my mentors, and thankful to NBCUniversal for sponsoring my team!”