Many FIRST® in Texas teams are based out of schools or school district programs, but not all of them. Some teams are based out of community centers, girl scout troops, or other standalone organizations. This week’s spotlight is a collection of these types of teams. The Itkan Institute of Technology was formed in the spring of 2022 to support six fledgling FIRST® Tech Challenge teams. These six teams, operating under the banner of “The Marvels” have gone on to be not only successful robotics teams, but also a pillar of their local and global communities.
The organization’s founder, Dr. Mohammed Ebieda, says that “The mission of Itkan is to promote STEM to underserved and underrepresented communities across the globe.” They have certainly achieved this goal through their time spent in their off-season, building and shipping the “Marvels Kit” to communities beyond their own. The Marvels Kit is a pre-made robot that these youth communities use as a blueprint from which to learn and begin their own journey in STEM. “Itkan inspires youth to pursue and promote STEM and FIRST® values…” Dr. Ebieda continued, “Itkan has facilitated creating a splendid Marvels network and also paved the way for communities to successfully host leagues for various FIRST® competitions.”
Many of Itkan’s Senior Marvel Students have taken on mentor roles and take the time to provide support and learning through both virtual and in-person interactions. These students have logged nearly 370 mentoring hours so far this year. The students at Itkan aren’t the only members to donate their time though. Itkan has no paid staff and is run entirely by volunteers.
The Itkan Institute of Technology works to embody and share the mission of FIRST®, to inspire the youth of today to be the STEM leaders and innovators of tomorrow. If you are interested in learning more, or would like to get involved with Itkan, look no further than their website to learn about their full range of impact and achievements, or to get involved yourself.