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Former live theatre production specialist Heidi Lovett is the Executive Director of Swerve Robotics, a Washington-based organisation which uses applied-STEM education programmes to empower young people to pursue advanced STEM studies and career opportunities.

Heidi initially started Swerve Robotics club (originally the Gothic Lawn Gnomes FIRST LEGO League team) as a means to channel her son's creative engineering inclinations at a young age. She enjoyed coaching his team so much that when he left for college, she kept doing it. She has been active with the FIRST programme for more than 10 seasons in many different capacities.

Listen in to hear Heidi unpack the merits of the global FIRST initiative which has so far enabled over 320,000 youthful participants from 98 countries to engage in competitive STEM challenges which promote critical thinking, team-building and a solid work ethic. Heidi also shares Swerve's plans to ignite enthusiasm for STEM in Botswana's youth by introducing FIRST programmes in that country.

Image credit: Jelleke Vanooteghem