High school students compete to qualify for FIRST North Carolina State Championship

Press release from FIRST North Carolina: 

High-school students from across North Carolina will have the opportunity to showcase their hard work after an intense six weeks of designing and building an original robot in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (firstinspires.org). This week at The Kimmel Arena at UNC Asheville, 27 teams of students and engineering and technical mentors will demonstrate their skill for science, mathematics, and technology. They will compete for honors and recognition that reward design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses, and communities.

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, who introduced the IBOT Mobility System and the Segway Human Transporter, FIRST was created to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities. The FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates 3, 3336 teams in the US and 24 countries to compete in 55 Regional Event and 80 District Events. More than 700 students will compete at the UNC Asheville District Event to earn a spot at the FIRST North Carolina State to be held at Campbell University April 1 and 2. Top teams from there will earn a spot at the FIRST World Championship to be held April 19-22 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.

In FIRST Steamworks, two adventure clubs from an era in which technology relied on steam power must prepare their airships for the ultimate long distance race. Each three-team alliance scores points and prepares to take flight by building steam pressure, gathering materials to start the rotos, and boarding robots onto their airships. The adventurer club with the highest score at the end of the match is the best prepared for the race and wins.

“FIRST isn’t about competing, it’s about cooperating, and recognizing that if you have the right tools, you’ll be able to make this world a better place for yourself and for the country,” said Dean Kaemn, president of DEKA Research and Development and the founder of FIRST, adding “There is no stimulus package that will have as much return as stimulating a bunch of kids to become the workforce of the future, the problem solvers, the creators of the future.”

“This program is transforming lives and communities,” said Marie Hopper, President of FIRST North Carolina, stating “Showing parents and students the enormous potential for well-paying jobs and meaningful careers is creating a ripple effect that will go far into the future.” Keith Krumpe, Dean of Natural Sciences, agreed saying “UNC Asheville, North Carolina’s public liberal arts college, is proud to partner with FIRST NC. The skills students learn in FIRST – critical thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, and teamwork – are the skills needed to succeed in STEM, in college, and in life.”

This season, participating FIRST students are eligible to apply for more than $50 million in scholarships being made available by nearly 200 scholarship providers.

Over a six-week timeframe, students work with professional engineering mentors to design a robot that solves a problem using a Kit of Parts and a standard set of rules. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in two district events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.

FIRST North Carolina sponsors and volunteers come from some of the most highly regarded organizations in the state, including Qualcomm, TE Connectivity, Duke Energy, Cisco and United Technologies Aerospace Systems. Sponsors provide resources including time and talent from professional mentors, services, equipment financial contributions and volunteers.

More information: www.firstnorthcarolina.org, www.firstinspires.org About FIRST


About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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