International STEM Education Cooperation Between Taiwan & Texas
National Nanke International Experimental High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team visited Stafford STEM Magnet Academy, its sister school in Texas, for the first time in April 2023. In October 2022, the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston coordinated a signing ceremony establishing the sister-school relationship between the school in Taiwan and the academy paving the way for future collaboration. The two schools had been communicating online. Then after winning several regional competitions, the Taiwan school’s team was able to participate in the 2023 FIRST Robotics Championship in Houston and had an opportunity to meet with students at their sister-school in person.
The 2023 FIRST Robotics World Championship was held at the George Brown Convention Center in Houston from April 19 to 22. Eight teams from Taiwan participated, including National Nanke International Experimental High School which had once again advanced to the World Championship, and 51 team members from the Nanke school came to the United States, led by three teachers: James Tsai, Liu Yun-Shan, and Huang Jen-Yu. The team members demonstrated their excellence in robot design and innovation and went on to win the Industrial Design Award at the competition.
With strong support from the Board of Trustees of Stafford STEM Magnet Academy, Principal Ginny Liang arranged several activities for the visiting students from Taiwan. These included brief campus introduction given by student ambassadors in both English and Chinese, biotechnology experiments, game programming, a LEGO league theme challenges showcase, and more. The Nanke school’s FRC team presented their latest robotic design and manufacturing process, and the First Tech Challenge team operated their robot which featured strong extension and gripping capabilities. The demonstration sparked a vibrant and practical exchange of ideas in English and Mandarin with the American teachers and students on site.
Dr. Robert Bostic, Superintendent of the Stafford Municipal School District, expressed his excitement about meeting the visiting team from National Nanke International Experimental High School and expressed his admiration for the excellent mathematics and science education for which Taiwan is renowned.
Stafford School District administrators and Director Yang of the Education Division who witnessed the lively discussion agreed that the visit was a great success, and that it was an excellent example of the creative application of STEM education for participants and observers alike. More meetings and exchanges to foster enhanced and expanded international STEM cooperation were proposed.
The relationship between these sister-schools and this visit are a great example of the Connecting with the World aspect of the Ministry of Education’s International Education 2.0 vision, and are strengthening educational ties between the United States and Taiwan.