Local students build robot in Google’s first ever Kitchener-Waterloo Community Space

Editor’s note: Today we’re opening the doors of Google’s first ever Community Space in Canada. Located on the ground floor of our Google Kitchener-Waterloo office, the new centre will offer local nonprofits and organizations working in STEM education and diversity free access to host programming and events. As part of today’s opening, we’re also proud to announce $2.1M in new funding for a mix of inspiring Canadian organizations, including: 

  • A $1.5 million Google.org re-investment in Actua, Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization, to continue evolving our Codemakers program that offers year-round computer science workshops for kids. This brings our total investment since launching Codemakers to $3 million. 
  • A $200,000 Google.org grant to Engineering Science Quest, through the University of Waterloo’s Engineering Outreach Program, to create an experiential learning program in the Google Community Space that will help local youth build computational thinking and digital skills and provide parents and teachers access to information and resources. 
  • Lastly, Google Canada is funding $400,000 to the University of Waterloo with the aim of developing a new leadership centre for Women in Computer Science. Our goal is to help close the gender disparity gap in tech — and we’re starting to do just that by bringing the Technovation Challenge, the world’s largest global tech entrepreneurship competition for girls ages 10-18, to Waterloo for the first time. 

This post comes from Shawn Wallace, Googler and founder of Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Robotics. 

Every week this year, a group of 40 students from high schools across Kitchener-Waterloo have met at Google’s new Community Space on Breithaupt Street to brainstorm, design, and build their very own robot. These students are proud members of Team 2702 Rebels, a robotics team run by a non-profit I co-founded called Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Robotics.

This past weekend, we competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition’s Western District event, winning the prestigious Engineering Inspiration award, and also qualified for the Provincial Championships. Our success would not have been possible without the support of Google Canada and the early access they provided to their interactive Community Space.

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