Amazon brings robotics grant program to Tennessee

Technology-minded students in the Nashville area will have new opportunities for learning.

Amazon and FIRST, a non-profit technology mentoring program for children in grades K-12, are partnering with Metro Nashville Public Schools to provide 21 elementary, middle and high schools with robotics programming, as part of the Amazon Future Engineer program. The effort includes funding to launch FIRST robotics clubs along with teacher professional development, $10,000 to expand access to computer science education at each school, which could include field trips, hardware, and technology upgrades, and access to a tour of an Amazon robotics fulfillment center.

In addition, Amazon also plans to fund intro and AP computer science courses in three metro Nashville high schools and more than 45 total high schools across the state of Tennessee, aiding more than 1,000 local students. FIRST was founded by Dean Kamen, president of DEKA Research & Development and inventor of the Segway motor scooter.

Amazon’s funding also provides preparatory lessons, tutorials, professional development for teachers, fully sequenced and paced digital curriculum for students, and live online support every day of the week for both teachers and students. All students participating in this program will receive a free membership to AWS Educate, which provides them with free access to computing power in the AWS Cloud for their coding projects and content to learn about cloud computing.

Launched in November 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program that each year aims to inspire more than 10 million kids to explore computer science; provide over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to intro or advanced placement computer science courses; award 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, and offer guaranteed, paid Amazon internships to gain work experience.

Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in computer science/STEM education. In addition, Amazon Future Engineer has donated more than $10 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country.

“We are excited to team with Metro Nashville Public Schools to help more local students, especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities, develop the skills they need to build their best future,” said Dave Clark, Amazon senior VP, worldwide operations. “Amazon Future Engineer will help students have positive, early, and frequent interactions with computer science so that they can become the innovators of tomorrow at Amazon or beyond - and continue to strengthen the economy and community of Nashville.”