Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
    Supporting Indigenous Robotics: REC Foundation and Amazon Foster STEM Education

    In a landmark collaboration, the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation and Amazon have joined forces to bring together Native American and Indigenous teams for the 4th annual Southwest Native American Showcase. The event, which took place from November 16-18, 2023, in Whiteriver, Arizona, provided students with the opportunity to showcase their robotics skills and compete for sought-after spots at the 2024 VEX Robotics World Championship, the largest robotics competition in the world.

    This partnership between the REC Foundation, Amazon, Indigitize, an organization dedicated to providing computer science accessibility to Indigenous communities, and Google, underscores a shared commitment to foster STEM-related learning and workforce development among Native American and Indigenous students. By supporting these students in robotics education, the organizations aim to bridge the gap in STEM education and equip these communities with the necessary tools and support for future success.

    Over 250 students from diverse tribes in Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma participated in the Southwest Native American Showcase. Thanks to Amazon’s generous support, these students and their coaches were able to attend the event at no cost, ensuring that financial barriers did not hinder their participation in this enriching experience. This collaboration also facilitated opportunities for students to engage in robotics activities that challenge their problem-solving skills, encouraging them to dream big and become innovative thinkers.

    Through this partnership, participating teams received support for travel, lodging, and competition expenses, guaranteeing access to valuable STEM knowledge and the chance to explore exciting career possibilities. Moreover, the REC Foundation extended invitations to students and educators from six Native American school districts in Arizona, introducing them to the robotics program and the opportunities it offers.

    This initiative is just one example of the REC Foundation’s dedication to increasing student engagement in science, technology, engineering, math, and computer science (STEM) through hands-on robotics and drone programs. By empowering educators and inspiring students, the foundation strives to equip future generations with the skills and confidence necessary to meet global challenges.


    Q: What is the purpose of the Southwest Native American Showcase?
    A: The Southwest Native American Showcase provides Native American and Indigenous students with a platform to showcase their robotics skills and compete for a chance to participate in the VEX Robotics World Championship.

    Q: What organizations are involved in this collaboration?
    A: The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation, Amazon, Indigitize, and Google are partnering to support Native American and Indigenous students in robotics education.

    Q: How does this collaboration support STEM education?
    A: The partnership aims to bridge the gap in STEM education by providing tools, support, and valuable opportunities for Native American and Indigenous students to excel in robotics and explore STEM-related careers.

    Q: How are students supported in attending the showcase?
    A: Amazon’s generous support covers travel, lodging, and competition expenses for participating teams, ensuring that financial barriers do not hinder students’ participation in the event.

    Q: What is the REC Foundation’s overarching mission?
    A: The REC Foundation is committed to increasing student engagement in STEM by empowering educators and inspiring students through hands-on robotics and drone programs.