Feb 12, 2007

During National Engineering Week Feb. 18-24: Students Build Robots and Make Disc Drives Spin with Help from Seagate Engineers

The last six weeks have been a crash course in high-tech product development for students at Niwot, Silver Creek and Monarch High Schools. For these teams of aspiring engineers, the product is a life-sized robot that - if all goes well - will perform a series of mechanical tasks in front of hundreds of tech-savvy spectators and a few eagle-eyed judges next month at the FIRST Robotics Colorado Regional Competition in Denver.

Working alongside these students for the past six weeks are engineers from Seagate Technology, Ball Aerospace, Lockheed-Martin and IBM. These engineers, who serve as mentors for the teams, bring with them a wealth of expertise in mechanical, electrical and software engineering - all essential disciplines in designing these complex computer-programmed machines. The mentors also bring a level of enthusiasm to the process that makes it hard to distinguish between the kids on the teams and the adults.

Seagate is sponsoring four teams this year, with funds that go toward the competition's entry fees and a bare-bones kit of parts. What these students add in the way of parts, for a more advanced robot, depends on their ability to raise additional funds, as well as their technical innovation.

In the week ahead, these teams will be scrambling to work the bugs out of their mechanical inventions before shipping them off to a storage facility where they'll be held until the competition, March 29-31, at the University of Denver's Ritchie Center.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a multinational non-profit organization that aspires to transform culture, making science, math, engineering and technology "cool" for kids as sports are today. The FIRST Robotics Competition involves nearly a thousand teams from the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Great Britain.

At the middle-school level, girls throughout the state will find out what it's like to be a veterinarian, an astronomer - even a crime scene investigator - during the 2007 Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Conference on Saturday, February 24, 10 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. at the University of Colorado - Boulder Engineering Center.

The event, sponsored by Seagate Technology and presented by the Boulder Branch of the AAUW and the Boulder Latina Women's League, is open to girls in grades 6 through 8. The conference features hands-on science workshops led by women working in science, math and technology fields, including several engineers and scientists from Seagate, Ball Aerospace, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), University of Colorado and the Fiske Planetarium, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Workshops include: "Working Magic with Nitrogen;" "Exploring the Stars;" and "What Makes Your Digital World Go Round? - An Inside Look at Hard Drives."

The "Digital World" workshop is led by four women engineers from Seagate, bringing with them more than 75 years of experience in chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering. During the Seagate workshop, girls will capture digital images with cameras or download songs from iPods, then peek inside a hard drive as it records this data. Workshop participants will dismantle hard drives and explore their components and experiment with magnetism and electricity to understand how hard drives read and write data.

Parents are invited to attend the Parents' Program at the EYH Conference, which offers strategies for supporting their daughters' academic success and paying for college tuition. All middle-school science teachers are invited, with an added incentive for high student attendance. For the first 10 of their students at the conference, teachers earn a $100 gift certificate for classroom supplies and equipment from the Carolina Biological Supply Company.

As an international corporate sponsor of EYH, Seagate provides funding to the organization, as well as intellectual resources, in the form of science workshop kits designed by Seagate engineers and scientists in the U.S. and Northern Ireland. These kits are available to EYH conference leaders around the world. In addition, Seagate women engineers are leading science workshops at EYH conferences in the U.S. and the U.K.

"As a technology leader and a good corporate citizen, Seagate is committed on a global scale to supporting education in math and science in its communities," said Andy Davis, Seagate vice president, Design Engineering. "And a very important part of this effort is devoted to girls in grades K through 12. By supporting EYH, we hope to continue that effort to help cultivate the next generation of women engineers and scientists."

Conference registration and the Parents' Program are $10 each, which includes lunch. Event fee scholarships are available. To register online, visit http://www.coaauw.org/boulder. For more information, contact Melissa at mteel62568@aol.com or 303-466-8190. For paper registration, contact Mary at maryh2@ix.netcom.com or 303-448-9669. Registration deadline is Feb. 20.

About FIRST
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a multinational non-profit organization that aspires to transform culture, making science, math, engineering and technology "cool" for kids as sports are today. The FIRST Robotics Competition involves nearly a thousand teams from the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Great Britain. Also, visit Colorado FIRST, to learn more local and statewide teams and regional competitions.

About EYH
EYH is an international non-profit organization committed to promoting the continuing development in mathematics and science among all people, with a particular emphasis on the needs of women and girls. Conferences are designed to nurture girls' interest in science and math courses and to encourage them to consider science and math-based career options such as engineering, computer science and physical science.

About AAUW
For more than 125 years, the AAUW has been one of the nation's leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW comprises two corporations: the Association and the AAUW Educational Foundation. The Foundation provides funds to advance education, research and self-development for women and to foster equity and positive societal change. To learn more, visit: http://www.aauw.org/. For information about the Boulder Branch of the AAUW, visit http://www.coaauw.org/boulder.

About Seagate
Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disc drives, providing products for a wide-range of applications, including Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, Consumer Electronics and Branded Solutions. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, and to be the low cost producer in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at www.seagate.com.

Seagate, Seagate Technology and the Wave logo are registered trademarks of Seagate Technology LLC.

For further information, contact David Szabados.