$2,500 Grant Will Help New Robotics Team for Girls


Wentzville Middle School (WMS) has received a $2,500 grant from the EDC Business and Community Partners Education Committee for a new, all-girls robotics team.

WMS Science and Project Lead the Way Teacher Ed Picone applied for the grant to encourage female students to explore tech fields. He says he was inspired after attending a training where three female engineers talked about how hands-on learning when they were younger led each of them into the field of engineering.


“We have a primarily male robotics team at WMS now. The female students will at times join the team, but at this age they find it more appealing to work with an all-female group. Hands-on learning is the best way for all students to be exposed to options with regard to educational and career choices,” Picone said.

The grant is designed to encourage middle school students in St. Charles County to become involved in FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics competitions. According to the EDC Business and Community Partners website, the positive impact on FIRST Tech Challenge participants is well documented. More than 84 percent have more interest in taking a challenging math or science course and 86 percent are more interested in attending college.

“We want to encourage students to explore the exciting opportunities of science, technology, engineering and math activities with the hope of their pursuing these type of studies in their high school and college years,” said Randy Schilling, chairman of the Education Committee of the EDC Business & Community Partners. “We know that the younger a student becomes engaged in STEM-related activities, the more likely they are to pursue this type of career. These are the careers of the future.”

The EDC Business and Community Partners, formally Partners for Progress of Greater St. Charles, is a civic group founded in 2001 to influence community progress and economic growth in the St. Charles County region. It is part of the EDC business and community strategic collaborative.