At the end of June, rising senior Melissa Domen participated in the 2021 8th Annual FIRST National Advocacy Conference (NAC). The purpose of the conference is to advocate for FIRST and the importance of STEM education to members of Congress and Senators. Melissa had participated in NAC for the past three years. She had a great experience working with Robbinsville High School’s robotics team, Nemesis, to help them prepare for conferences since this was their first year participating. She helped Nemesis prepare presentation slides and speeches. Before meeting with members of Congress and Senators virtually, Nemesis and Melissa had the chance to learn about how government works, the importance of policy legislation, capital logistics, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Students on Nemesis and Melissa all had the opportunity to meet Senator Cory Booker’s Research Director, Congressman Chris Smith’s Legislative Correspondent, and Senator Bob Menendez’s Legislative Correspondent and Legislative Assistant. During the meetings, they advocated for an increase in funding for the Every Student Succeeds Act Title IV-A which increases access to STEM for students. These students were also able to share their robotics teams’ successes, along with the mission of FIRST, and the importance of STEM education. They will be following up with these Congressmen and Senators now and into the future for continued STEM support.