The FIRST Tech Challenge Romania robotics competition is one of the most interactive educational programmes launched in Romania in 2016 by the Natie Prin Educatie Association. Affiliated to the world’s leading non-profit in STEM Education – FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the program’s aim is to make science and STEM education more accessible to high-school students in Romania and beyond. The organisation’s mission is to inspire and support future science leaders, encourage the spirit of dialogue and collaboration between young high-school students working in teams and interacting in science projects. The students are engaged in activities featuring engineering, mathematics, physics, mechanics, construction and design, coding, but also marketing and communication, public speaking, fundraising, community events…
They are thus developing their 21st century skills in real-world applications. FIRST Tech Challenge Romania features 145 high-school robotics teams, more than 2000 students who work in teams and compete with their own built robots. The teams act as a start-up and are active in pitching, fundraising, business plans, engineering notebooks, community outreach, partnerships, and branding. The program goes beyond the competition and reaches wider audiences in robotics demos, presentation events, international exchanges, summer camps.
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Gabriela Ivan, Marketing Manager, Natie Prin Educatie Association
Gabriela is the organiser of the international robotics and STEM education program for high-school students – FIRST Tech Challenge Romania. She is highly committed to science engagements projects that bridge the gap between science and society including STEM education workshops in tech hubs, robotics demo events and hackathons, meet & greets with science personalities, summer camps. Gabriela has a degree in International Economic Relations from the American University of Bucharest and a previous experience in organising a wide variety of international sporting events including ATP and WTA tennis events, and leadership and technology events featuring Sir Tim Berners Lee, Jimmy Wales, Kip Thorne. Further, she is invested into making a change in the educational system in Romania through her work within the Natie Prin Educatie Association and focuses on community projects that create a positive impact upon society across all arenas, from organising sports events, to robotics competitions and setting-up science hubs. She is a former 2018 Global Leaders Fellow for Emerging Nonprofit Executives, Better World Strategies USA with diverse professional experience including the current role at the Natie Prin Educatie Association, the international advertising agency McCann Bucharest and collaborations with the Romanian Tennis Federation, the Romanian Olympic Foundation and the Ion Tiriac Foundation.