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victorm1's picture
By Victor Mercado
Director of Public Information
JANUARY 30, 2019 / MODIFIED FEB 11, 2019 09:32 AM

Lauffer Middle School hosted a small gathering on January 28th between members of the Sunnyside Foundation and representatives from Bayer Crop Science: Marana Greenhouse—who donated a $10,000 gift to the foundation to support the Robotics program at Lauffer. The gift is intended to elevate the school’s existing STEM lineup.

Dr. Matt Lingard is the Site Lead for Bayer Crop Science's Marana Greenhouse. He spoke about the role of STEM in public education as a key driver of talent for companies such as Bayer. The 7-acre greenhouse project in Marana is anticipated to employ between 40 and 60 people in positions ranging from HVAC engineers to plant biologists. 

The Robotics program at Lauffer Middle School gives students the opportunity to learn coding skills and build autonomous Lego® robots that can be used in community storytelling projects. To that end the school intends on using the funds awarded by Bayer's Monsanto Fund to strengthen the bond between Lauffer Middle School and the local community in an effort to provide robust learning experiences for students in this niche of STEM education.

Sunnyside Foundation President, Naomi Proaño listens to a group of students in Justin Powell's Robotics course explain how the software interfaces with a robotic arm.

The gift is also aimed at building a seamless pipeline between Craycroft Elementary—who received a similar gift from Amazon this year to jumpstart its school’s robotics program—and to emphasize a path into Desert View High School’s Precision Manufacturing program; considered one of the best in the country, providing students with industry certification in NIMS and SolidWorks. This Early College program, provides dual enrollment and is aligned with Pima Community College and its CNC Certificate and Associate’s degree program.

The school plans on acquiring more 3D printers such as this one to produce parts for Future Cities, an adjacent course offered as part of Lauffer's STEM lineup. 

Following a brief meet and greet at the school’s Learning Resource Center, members from Bayer’s executive team and members of the Sunnyside Foundation joined the Superintendent and members of the Governing Board as they tour the school’s robotics classroom and learn more about Lauffer’s existing STEM programs.