FAIRFIELD, Conn. (March 13, 2018) — Culminating an intense six weeks of preparation, teams of students in grades 9 through 12 from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont will descend on Fairfield’s Alumni Hall for a regional FIRST Robotics Competition on Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18, 2018.
This is the first year that Fairfield University’s School of Engineering is hosting a FIRST Robotics Competition. Opening ceremonies will take place on Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 a.m., and qualification matches will run until 7 p.m. that day. On Sunday, March 18, opening ceremonies will be at 9 a.m. and the day will end with a 5 p.m. awards ceremony.
Combining the excitement of a sporting event with the rigors of science and technology, the 120-pound robots will be put to the test in a challenging new floor game called “POWER UP.” Played in a three-team alliance format, the highest-scoring alliance at the end of each match will advance to the next level of competition. Participants describe these annual FIRST tech challenges as “the hardest fun you’ll ever have!”
To prepare for the FIRST Robotics Competition, each team has worked with professional engineer mentors to construct and program their robots using sophisticated software and hardware. Among the competitors this weekend is a Bridgeport, Conn. team mentored by students from Fairfield’s School of Engineering. In addition to one home-schooled student, the Bridgeport teens represent Harding, Central, and Fairchild-Wheeler high schools.
“The FIRST Robotics Competition is a great way for youth to explore their interest in STEM, while learning skills that get them ready for 21st century careers,” said Ryan Munden, PhD, associate dean of the School of Engineering. “Plus, they get to mix new skills with the excitement of sports and teamwork. It’s just as helpful for our college mentors, who put their engineering skills into practice, while having a fantastic opportunity to give service to the community.”
The event is organized and run by NE FIRST, the regional chapter of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen, who describes its mission “to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21st century work-life skills.”
During the 2018 season, more than 91,000 high school students on approximately 3,650 FIRST Robotics Competition teams will compete in scores of district and regional events worldwide, for a chance to participate in the FIRST Championships at the end of April. NE FIRST runs 11 New England events leading up to its District Championship in Boston next month.
The weekend-long event is free and open to the public. Families, friends, and spectators are encouraged to come to campus and Alumni Hall to cheer for the robots and meet the talented teens who created them.
For more information about Fairfield University’s School of Engineering, visit www.fairfield.edu/soe.
For more information about NE FIRST, visit www.nefirst.org.
Fairfield University is a modern, Jesuit Catholic university rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and across the globe are pursuing degrees in the University’s five schools. Fairfield embraces a liberal humanistic approach to education, encouraging critical thinking, cultivating free and open inquiry, and fostering ethical and religious values. The University is located on a stunning 200- acre campus on the scenic Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.
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