I had a fantastic time as a judge in last year’s NC FIRST Robotics Competition. This year, I get to do it again!
Editor’s note: For the latest news about the next regional tournament, visit NC FIRST.
Spring is just around the corner. I know, because high school teams around the state are already gearing up for the FIRST Robotics Competition coming this April. How exciting! Last year I had a fantastic time serving as a judge in the NC Regional Tournament of the competition. And this year I have the great honor of also serving as a member of the steering committee.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has a mission that is very important to me: inspiring students to pursue careers in science and technology and giving them a glimpse into just how fun and exciting the lives of researchers and engineers can be. Fuentek is dedicated to engaging students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)—so my participation on the steering committee is a great way to contribute to this year’s competition.
This “varsity sport of the mind” challenges teams of students and their mentors to tackle a specified problem using a “kit of parts” and a set of competition rules. The students use these kits to build robots for the game, and they are judged by a committee of experts including engineers and other professionals. (Check out Danielle’s experience as an inspector at last year’s competition.) It’s not just about building the best robot—it’s about strategy and camaraderie, too. The kids set a great example for us all by helping each other and treating one another with respect. It’s awesome to see them working together as a team.
If you’re as passionate as I am about engaging young people in science and technology, consider sponsoring the 2011 competition, which takes place April 7-9 at Dorton Arena in Raleigh.
Or, consider participating as a volunteer. Or just come and watch the fun. Spring will soon be here – let the games begin!
–By Laura A. Schoppe