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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19, 2024

WHS Robotics Team Advocates for Program to Senators at the State Capitol

WHITEWATER, WI — Members of the Whitewater High School FIRST Robotics Competition Team Ferradermis advocated for their program to state officials at the Wisconsin State Capitol in hopes of expanding the team and the opportunities available to students.

Organized by FIRST, a global youth-serving nonprofit organization advancing STEM education in K-12 schools, the event featured several teams and groups with similar interests in promoting science and technology programs to lawmakers. 

Seven WHS students led meetings with senators and their representatives at the Capitol Rotunda to discuss the costs of supporting a program like theirs and how large the return on investment is for participants. In an interview, Cosette Wildermuth-Breitzman, Ferradermis team captain, told WMTV-15 News that public speaking, community outreach, and building partnerships with sponsors are skills students could only learn and practice through the robotics program. 

“We have classes where we need to make presentations, but nothing prepares you for this level of outreach unless you’re actually doing it,” Cosette said.

The program costs approximately $70,000 annually, including the cost of the team’s robot-building supplies and transportation to competitions. This money is largely raised through grants and sponsorships, but by lobbying with lawmakers for more funding, Ferradermis is hoping to expand its team with more female participants. The team also aims to provide access to the program to underrepresented communities in Wisconsin. 

“This was such a great experience for the team,” said Laura Masbruch, Ferradermis team advisor and coach. “Our students spoke with actual state senators, some for 45 minutes, about this club that has really transformed for some into a passion. I’m proud of how the team represented WHS and our community, and all the hard work they continue to demonstrate in our program.”

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Editor: Photos of the visit are available at this link