About Us

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The Delray/Boca Robotics League is a project of STEM HQ, Inc.

STEM HQ is a Florida recognized non-profit organization developed by Eagles Robotics Xperience (The FIRST Robotics Competition team of Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach, FL) tasked to create and operate self-sustainable models of educational robotics programs throughout Palm Beach County.

Our journey began two years ago, when the Eagles Robotics Xperience team was created for in the 2011-2012 school year, competing in both the FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition. The core of the team consisted of 20 incredibly talented students who are in the Atlantic High International Baccalaureate program. The experience of building a robot and competing with students from around the United States has been transformative for us in so many ways. Key elements of the FIRST Program are "gracious professionalism" and giving back to the community. With the support and encouragement of our mentors we want to remove the technical and organizational barriers that keep young minds from participating in competitive robotics. 

 

Meet the STEM HQ Team!

Board of Directors

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Homer Floyd Willis IV "Scooter" has been active with FIRST robotics for 15+ years and has helped start three different high school robotics teams competing in FIRST. He understands the importance of mentoring and what exposing students to the field of engineering can do to inspire a young mind. When he was in high school he participated in a mentoring program that found an engineer from the community to help answer questions about using a computer to turn on and off motors to build a robot. The mentor gave an unbelievable amount of time to answer many silly questions that soon became more complex. The robotic control system that was developed was entered into the High School Science Fair and placed 3rd in Engineering at the International Science and Engineering Fair. Scooter attended the University of Florida to major in Electrical Engineering, was elected Student Body President in 1989 and went on to earn a Bachelors of Electrical Engineering, an MBA, Masters in Computer Science and a PhD in Computer Engineering. Scooter is the Director of Computational Biology for Avera Cancer Institute working with large clinical trial data sets to identify genomic markers that are predictive of treatment benefit and prognostic of outcome in Cancer. Scooter is married to Karen Krumholtz the Executive Director of the Spirit of Giving Network and they have a 11 year old son, Devin who has competed in First Lego League for the last three years. Scooter is fully committed to establishing programs that get elementary and middle school students excited about learning through competitive robotics.

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Frank Dickinson has been serving as CTO for AffinityX, the leading creative and marketing services partner for companies that serve SMBs, since 2005. Frank, a Florida native, holds a B.S. in Computer and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Frank has decades of hands-on experience leading the development of complex software and integrating disparate technologies across global organizations. Most recently, Frank has been instrumental in building and maintaining cloud-based solutions that process millions of creative orders per year. Frank and his wife Debra (Chef Deb), have 3 children, Carleigh, Gillian and Aidan. The family has been actively involved in STEM-related activities since the kids were in elementary school. Aidan has been involved with FLL and FTC since 2014. Carleigh is officially joining FTC for the 2016 program.

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Vladimir Safin is a graduate of Yaroslavl State University in Russia. When he was 21 years old he earned his Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics.  After moving to the United States in 1998 he has held senior technology positions at several companies before starting his own consulting business. Vladimir specializes in software design and development and was involved in several successful technology start-ups. 

He lives in Delray Beach Florida with his wife Gloria and four children. Three of his children attended Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach and the past 3 years Vladimir been mentoring school's Robotics team and Programming club.  He enjoys working with students and fully committed to making STEM HQ vision reality.]

One of his sons, David Matthew, will soon be joining the Jr.FLL program.

Christian Liautaud is a University of Florida graduate in Electrical Engineering. He specializes in Integrated Circuits design and embedded systems. Some of his latest work can be found inside the main processors of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. He's been coaching in the First robotics competition for the past two years, and enjoys mentoring kids to become technology leaders. His son Nick and Daughter Sophia have competed in FIRST Lego League for the past two years and he has been known to take his family on vacation to watch the FIRST World Championship.

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Alicia Rootes is a marketing professional who throughout her career has focused on helping nonprofits reach their full potential.  As Senior Project Director for The Winfield Group of Atlanta, she traveled extensively throughout the Southeastern U.S., training boards and staff of nonprofits specializing in arts, education, science and technology, the environment, sports and recreation, medical research and youth development.  As the mother of two, she also dedicated herself avocationally to the neighborhood elementary school in Savannah, Georgia.  Together with the designated Science teacher, and partnering with Georgia Tech – Savannah, Alicia pioneered two robotics programs at the school.  She has been involved with FLL for two years with her son, Thomas.   Alicia holds a BA from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University.  She taught Marketing and Market Research at SNHU.

Michael Weir has been working in the Automation and Robotics Industry for 20+ years. He has provided automated solutions in industries such as defense, retail, networking, semiconductor, software, and automotive. Many of this roles include leading teams of automation developers in creating systematic solutions for entire companies such as Nortel Networks, Texas Instruments, General Electric and UTC. Michael has a BSEE from Kettering University and an MSEE from the University of Michigan. He holds several certifications such as Certified LabVIEW Architect, Certified TestStand Developer and Certified Professional Instructor. Michael vividly recalls his first introduction to computers (a Commodore PET) from his 5th grade teacher, which sparked his passion for science and technology. He enjoys lighting the same spark in younger generations through several efforts, including volunteer efforts with FIRST Lego League and hosting student sessions during Take Your Child TO Work Day events. Michael serves as an Adjunct Professor at Florida Atlantic University, travels to teach courses professionaly, serves as the Automation Manager for Office Depot Ecommerce applications and websites and is the owner and architect of www.agile-test.com.

As a founder and coach of Boca Amateur Athletics, a 501c3 which serves the youth community with athletic venues, Michael has witnessed how organized youth activity can benefit young minds. He seeks to stretch that concept to include science and technology based learning. Understanding that balance is the key to excellence, he is teaming with the folks at STEM HQ to provide an organized venue and opportunity for young minds to catch the "first spark" of science and innovation.