The Passion of the Next Generation

I received an encouraging e-mail from a high-school student who is energized by what radio frequency identification can do.
Published: April 17, 2012

I get a lot of e-mails, but a recent one from a high-school student stands out. I thought I would share it with you in its entirety.

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Hello Mr. Roberti,

I wanted to thank you for bringing this great mass of knowledge to one central location. My premium student membership has been so beneficial. I am learning so much listening to the seminars and reading case studies. Here is my story about how I gained a passion for RFID.

I attend an amazing program at Francis Tuttle Technology Center [in Oklahoma] called the Pre-Engineering Academy. This is a challenging program that is driven to push high-school teens. A capstone course called Engineering Design and Development began this journey. It is a high-school senior project class where you present a real-world problem with a solution at the end of the year. My group started off with an RFID solution plan for an item-level shoe inventory system for Kohl’s, since this is where I was employed.

After countless late hours on my behalf of studying and researching, it began to become more than a simple little project. I was confronted with an opportunity to propose a system for all of Francis Tuttle’s inventory. I got to work contacting numerous software companies and tag vendors. Conference calls were scheduled and executed, with companies such as Simply RFID, EnaSys and ASAP Systems.

I worked alongside tag companies such as William Frick & Company and UPM RFID. I chose the companies that best fit the passive inventory system we needed to replace our current bar-code system. I presented to the first level, which is our assistant campus director, and the lady in charge of inventory. They were extremely impressed with our proposal. They decided to schedule a meeting with the head of the IT department and head of finances. I had an entire PowerPoint built with quotes and everything outlined.

The weekend before this, I attended the FIRST Robotics Regional in Oklahoma. The reason I am telling you about this is because I got the chance to be a student ambassador and attend a VIP lunch, which only six out of a thousand students were able to attend. There, the lady who orchestrated it introduced me to a man named Wayne Copeland. She asked me to tell him about my project, so I explained everything I had been doing. Then he proceeded to ask questions, and I was able to give an answer to each one.

After he had determined I knew what I was talking about, he took me around to meet with some people. First was Governor [Bill] Anoatubby, the governor for the Chickasaw Nation. Next I met with President Burns Hargis at Oklahoma State, the college I am enrolled in for next year. Then, I met Karl Reid, the former dean of the Engineering College at Oklahoma State. I was later able to speak with him for a good while. I told him I had a huge desire to be in the Freshman Research Program. Three days ago, I was one of sixty to be accepted into the program; this is for all of the majors.

I also met Karl Springer, the superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools. As the luncheon resumed, Mr. Copeland went on stage to receive the connector award for helping start the regional here. During his speech, he began to talk about how he had met me and this is why he came to the luncheon. Next thing I knew, he had asked me to come up on stage to speak about how FIRST has impacted me.

I went up there without a chance to be nervous and knocked it out of the park. Soon afterward, he asked me if I would like to meet with the secretary and superintendent of the Board of Education for Oklahoma. That meeting is in the process of being scheduled. In addition to all that had happened, Mike Moradi came up and spoke to me. He expressed how impressed he was and that he wished to be my mentor and help me search for an internship and follow me on my journey. He is an extremely successful entrepreneur in nanotech and numerous other fields.

Now to get back to my presentation to the administration at Francis Tuttle, which took place last Wednesday. The presentation went smoothly and they were receptive of everything we had to say. There were questions about every topic on how this could be integrated further and other application questions. They told us that it would not be overnight, but that in the near future, Francis Tuttle would probably switch over to an RFID inventory system. I will be attending Oklahoma State University next year, majoring in electrical engineering and researching RFID.

Last Friday, I was offered and accepted an internship at Surgery Logistics in Oklahoma with Keley John Booth, M.D. This will be a great opportunity to explore RFID applications in health care.

Thank you.


Josh Birdwell

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I am so pleased that RFID Journal has helped to inspire Josh’s passion. And we are happy to offer students interested in learning about radio frequency identification a 50 percent discount on a Premium Membership.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor’s Note archive or RFID Connect.