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August 2013 Check Presentation

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Connecting people’s minds, hearts and souls throughout the world through technological miracles is the mission of AT&T. And they are keenly aware that even more astounding than the devices that accomplish these incredible feats are the young, blossoming minds that are destined to conceive of these technological wonders and bring them to fruition.

Now with a generous contribution to the Polk State Technobot Robotics Program, AT&T is performing another breathtaking miracle: allowing young people on the cusp of adulthood to glimpse into the brilliant light of their futures and release the power of their inner potential.

Through their tremendous gift of $25,000.00 to the Polk State College Foundation to support the Technobot Robotics Program, AT&T’s has fulfilled their passion to nurture that limitless potential in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), making an incredible difference in so many young lives. It has dramatically enhanced the ability of students to take part in a fun, educational and career-building adventure that might have previously been beyond their reach.

“The AT&T sponsorship allowed Polk State to extend this challenging, engaging program to interested students at a very nominal cost of $35. Its quality curriculum, taught by exemplar instructors, captured the attention and minds of high school students as a result of AT&T’s investment,” said Dr. Naomi Boyer, Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Polk State who leads the Robotics program at Polk.

The rapidly-growing summer program – its attendance increasing exponentially from 12 students in 2012 to 21 students in 2013 – is part of TALON Robotics at Polk and targets students in grades nine through twelve.

This summer, students from high schools throughout Polk County took part in the program’s fun and educational activities of building and experimenting with robots while honing critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork skills in a dynamic, interactive environment. A digital media component rounded out the exciting opportunities jam packed into the program.

They also visited businesses that use robotics in their operations, letting them observe practical applications of their newly acquired skills in actual workplaces, and providing a peek into exciting future careers possibilities.

AT&T Regional Director Matt Mucci was able to witness firsthand the exciting results of the company’s philanthropy at the program’s thrilling culmination, known as the Robot Rumble. This adrenaline-pumping apex generated wild cheers and exhilaration to rival a major sports event, as students demonstrated the STEM skills they acquired by pitting their technical creations against one another in various challenges.

“It was incredible, just incredible,” said Mucci. “The energy, the excitement and the enthusiasm in the room was electric!”

“It’s one thing to deliver a check and read about what happened. But being there, seeing their faces light up and realizing that tomorrow’s leaders are right here in this room today – that is absolutely fantastic!” said Mucci.

The strong partnership between Polk State and AT&T originated several years ago, when he befriended Polk State President Dr. Eileen Holden and several of her colleagues at the College.

“We talked about the school and our lives and what Polk State stood for, and I was very inspired. I always kept that in the back of my mind. Then when I came on board at AT&T, and the company had such a strong directive and commitment to supporting educational STEM programs, it just seemed like a natural fit to support Robotics at Polk,” said Mucci.

On August 26, 2013 at a check presentation ceremony at the Polk State College Board of Trustees meeting, AT&T was honored for its extraordinary generosity that makes a genuine difference in the lives of students, and for its advocacy of Polk State College. Mucci was present to accept the honor.

Kevin Ashley, Treasurer of the Polk State College Foundation Board of Directors, expressed Polk’s tremendous gratitude to AT&T. He spoke about how AT&T’s funds have the potential to impact the Polk County economy in a big way.

“That kind of access that AT&T has provided opens doors for many people. It’s an investment by AT&T in the students, and in the future of our community,” said Ashley. “Two things go hand in hand at Polk State College — generosity and accomplishment. AT&T’s grant is another reflection of that.”

“On behalf of the District Board, Foundation Board, College employees and the students who benefited from your philanthropy, we deeply appreciate this extraordinarily generous gift,” said Ashley.

Pictured left to right: Teresa Martinez, Kevin Ashley, Linda Pilkington, Dan Dorrell, Matt Mucci, Dr. Eileen Holden, Mark Turner, Rick Garcia and Greg Littleton.