S&T to host FIRST Tech Challenge through 2016

Following a successful three-year run, Missouri University of Science and Technology has been selected to host a regional robotics competition for high school students – the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) – for another three years. Missouri S&T will host the competition through 2016, FIRST announced April 26 during the FIRST World Championship, held at the Edward Jones Dome/America’s Center in St. Louis.

Missouri S&T has hosted the FTC since 2011. Every February, the competition brings hundreds of tech-savvy Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas high school students – and their robotic creations – to the Student Recreation Center on the Missouri S&T campus.

The FIRST Tech Challenge is a nationwide robotics competition involving teams of up to 10 students between the ages of 14 and 18 in grades 9-12. Each team designs, builds and programs robots for a tournament-style competition based on competitive sports. For example, last year’s FTC game, called Ring It Up, required each team to use its robot to place plastic rings onto pegs on a rack in the center of a 12-foot, diamond-shaped field.

The competition is sponsored by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders” through participation in various robotics programs.

“Missouri S&T is truly pleased to host the FIRST Tech Challenge for another three years,” says Dr. Cheryl B. Schrader, Missouri S&T Chancellor. “Our mission of preparing students to solve society’s grand challenges is in perfect alignment with FIRST.

“We are proud of our longtime association with FIRST,” Schrader says. “Many of our current students participated in these robotics competitions when they were in high school.”

Nearly 100 members of Missouri S&T’s freshman class participated in FIRST robotics programs.

Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader, right, with Dean Kamen, CEO of DEKA and founder of FIRST.

“The people of Missouri consistently demonstrate that they truly understand the mission of FIRST and share our viewpoint on the importance of helping young people reap the rewards and excitement of an education and a career in science and technology,” says Dean Kamen, CEO of DEKA and founder of FIRST. “We are thrilled that Missouri S&T, known throughout the state for innovative engineering programs that, like FIRST, go beyond books and lectures to encourage solutions for real-world challenges, is hosting the FIRST Tech Challenge regional championship.”

In addition to FTC, FIRST also sponsors the FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students, the FIRST LEGO League events for students in grades 4-8 and the Jr. FIRST LEGO League for students from kindergarten to the third grade.

For more information about FIRST and the FIRST Tech Challenge visit www.usfirst.org.