Dr. Mike W. Bright, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Grove City College, has been named president of the BEST Robotics, Inc. board of directors.
BEST is a national robotics competition for middle- and high-school students that is intended to engage and excite students about engineering, science and technology and inspire them to pursue careers in these fields.
Bright began the Grove City College hub for BEST Robotics competition in 2010. Since then, he has been active in the national organization, serving on the board and as the organization’s vice president.
Bright first heard of BEST at a technical conference and it sparked his interest because was searching for ways to connect the College’s engineering program to regional high school students. It has served the College well in that capacity. “Since our first competition, I personally know probably 100 students who participated in BEST and ended up here for college,” Bright said.
The competition is not just a ’bot battle. Competitors must write an engineering notebook, give an oral marketing presentation, create a team exhibit and compete in spirit and sportsmanship. “This wholistic view of engineering matches what employers expect from college graduates and what we try to do in our program,” Bright said.
As part of the national leadership team at BEST, Bright is involved with setting overall direction for the program and providing oversight for the few paid staff. “I am privileged to work with over 100 volunteers each year to judge the various pieces of the competition and run the show. These people are passionate about promoting young people and giving them new opportunities,” he said. The program is outstanding technically, but “it is the people that animate me,” he said.
His efforts to run the local program successfully do not go unnoticed. “His extraordinary efforts to build and sustain this program in connection with Grove City College has been a true blessing,” College President Paul J. McNulty ’80 said.
“I am honored and privileged that my peers selected me as president,” Bright said. “Great people, life-changing experiences and robots - who wouldn't want to be involved with that?”