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NSU Hosts 2013 Eastern Virginia FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Tournament

Robotics-Press-ReleaseOn February 2, 2013, NSU hosted its fourth consecutive Eastern Virginia FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifier tournament. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a program with a stated mission to “inspire youth to become future technology and science leaders.” The program sponsors robotic competitions as a platform for students to participate in activities that build science, engineering, and technology skills. The competitions feature complex game challenges that change annually, and that typically require mentor-based support networks to achieve. The FIRST program also pushes student teams to implement financial planning and other activities to help achieve the mission of inspiring their peers. Overall, the FIRST program provides opportunities by which students may build confidence and leadership, and to cultivate teamwork skills, business acumen, and an appreciation for community service and outreach. The organizers hope these same students will go on to realize the creativity and innovation needed to meet the complex global challenges of modern society.

The 2013 Eastern Virginia qualifier featured twenty-eight teams from across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The teams developed robotic systems for “Ring It Up,” the 2012-2013 season game challenge Ring It Up is a challenge in which donut-shaped plastic rings are placed onto any of nine extended pegs that are placed on a vertical array. The pegs form a three by three array, and the game mimics the familiar tic-tac-toe game. The teams receive bonus points by placing rings across an entire row of three pegs, or by placing rings along the diagonal row of the grid. More bonus points can be earned by locating a randomly located infrared beacon, placing a weighted ring on a separately located two foot peg goal, or by lifting another of the competing robots a minimum of one inch off the ground.

The diverse scoring opportunities allow teams to optimize their robot designs to accomplish one or more of the scoring options, or to develop robots with a defensive strategy in mind. An animation of the game challenge can be viewed by going to the program website (usFIRST.org). The robotics teams also compete for additional judged awards based on outstanding technical features or their robots, and for exceptional community outreach efforts, The NSU hosted Eastern Virginia Qualifier tournament is one of six qualifier tournaments held across the Commonwealth of Virginia. At the qualifiers, teams compete for the opportunity to qualify for the state championship tournament. State-level winners then attend the world championship event, April 24-26, in St. Louis, Missouri.

NSU extends a special congratulations to all of the winning robots and teams at this year’s Eastern Virginia Qualifier. Extra special congratulations go out to the winners of the Inspire Award. Inspire, the highest award given out at FTC tournaments, recognizes teams that not only produce competitive robot designs, but that also exhibit effective year-round programs and activities to insure progress toward the overall goal of transforming our culture to support an appreciation for science and technology careers.

Inspire Award winners:

Team #4592, Nuts and Bolts, Community Team, Centreville, VA (1st place)
Team #1033, Team CLUTCH, Benedictine High School, Richmond, VA (2nd place)
Team #5527, Sir Lightning, Landstown Governor’s STEM Academy, Virginia Beach, VA (3rd place)

Ring It Up Game Challenge Winning Alliance:
Team #5086, Chatham Hall Turtles, Chatham Hall High School, Chatham, VA (Alliance captain)
Team #4105, Teal Tornadoes, Glen Allen High School, Glen Allen, VA
Team #33, Enigma, Garfield High School, Woodbridge, VA

PTC Design Award for outstanding robot design:
Team #6318, ExtraTETRIXials, Honaker High School, Honaker, VA

Rockwell-Collins Innovate Award for the most innovative robot design:
Team #33, Enigma, Garfield High School, Woodbridge, VA

Think Award for most outstanding engineering notebook presentation:
Team #1033, Team CLUTCH, Benedictine High School, Richmond, VA

Motivate Award for exceptional enthusiasm at the tournament, in their school, and in the community:
Team #3668, Smokie Jr., Hermitage High School, Henrico, VA

Connect Award for outstanding connections to local and engineering community:
Team #5414, Techie Tornadoes, Richlands High School, Cedar Bluff, VA

For information on how you can support our FTC tournament as a volunteer, or to learn how you can become a business sponsor for the event, please contact Dr. Patricia Mead (pmead@nsu.edu  or 757-823-2697).

T-CUP Community congratulates Dr. Frances Williams for receiving the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Award presented by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and Dominion Resources.
 
 The Outstanding Faculty Award is the Commonwealth's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities and recognizes superior accomplishments in teaching, research and public service.
Dr. Frances Williams
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Dr. Frances Williams

 

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