Bob and Shelly have been coaching R4Robotics, a community based robotics team for students ten and older since 2005. The team has won many awards over the years, including 10 time state championship. The Gruenigs realized early on that the team was doing much more than building important STEM skills, it was developing leadership and opening doors to opportunities for students. During their time coaching and traveling to teach STEM classes and camps, the Gruenig's have met a lot of interesting STEM stars. This podcast was born out of a desire to share the amazing students participating in STEM competitions, the unique partnerships with business and industry as well as share the exciting and diverse STEM opportunities throughout the region.
Our STEM Story
Chief of Ideas and Crazy STEM Shenanigans
Shelly is a wife and mother, soon to be grandmother, homeschool mom, STEM Entrepreneur and motivational speaker and coach. She coaches multiple robotics teams as well as individuals who are working to make radical change to build a better life. Her STEM story begins in rural Illinois, where she was always outside and barefoot exploring the world. In sixth grade her science fair project, The Life Cycle of a Chicken, won her First Place Outstanding - she still has the newspaper clipping to prove it! In college, she pursued a Master's Degree in College Student Personel and a PhD in Workforce Development but always maintained an interest in science and technology. Later in life as a homeschool mom to three, she began looking for project based experiences in order to help her kids make career decisions and launch into their best life. That was when she discovered the B.E.S.T. robotics competition and was hooked! After recruiting a few other families in 2005, the team was born and she was excited to teach kids the thrill of safely using power tools and building robots! Over the years, the team would grow and along with it so did her knowledge in STEM. She is proud that the team still currently has 50% girls, something very unusual in STEM programs. At the leading of the students on the team, she launched a business providing STEM camps and classes that would be mentored by members of R4Robotics. That business, Be Greater Than Average LLC is currently busy spreading the love of all things STEM throughout the country. The team and business have conducted thousands of community outreach events and volunteered in support of many STEM functions, but her vision is for more - to reach more STEM teachers, coaches and students and to create connection with industry in hopes of creating a stronger workforce and economy. In 2016 she established a nonprofit organization, R4Creating to help fulfill that vision and build a legacy to give back to the Southwest.
Serious about Structure, Science and Environmental Enthusiast
Bob’s STEM story starts in high school where he loved engaging in science experiments in the classroom. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in a non-STEM related field, Bob went to work for the federal government where he worked as a computer programmer analyst during the day while, at night, pursued and obtained a Master of Science in Environmental Biology. Thereafter, Bob pursued a law degree with the intent of melding his love for science with a focus on environmental law. Upon finishing law school and another a specialized degree in environmental law, Bob moved to New Mexico where he worked for a non-profit environmental organization, providing policy and technical support to Indian tribes on a number of environmental, energy, and natural resource issues which support he still provides to this day. Since 2006, Bob has been blessed to serve a mentor to to mid-high and high school students for the Rio Rancho Robo Runners.