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01-016
For Release: March 21, 2001

Sally V. Harrington
Media Relations Office
216/433-2037
Sally.V.Harrington@nasa.gov


Students' Robot Ready for the Challenge of Competition

A team consisting of students from James Ford Rhodes High School in Cleveland, OH and a group of engineers and technicians from NASA Glenn Research Center are ready to seek the sweet taste of success.

After 6 weeks and almost 50 hours spent at Glenn planning and building a robot to enter in the 2001 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition, the team is ready to travel to the Great Lakes Regional Competition at Eastern Michigan University on March 22-24. That will be their first chance to show their skill in remotely steering their robot to victory. Then it's on to the National Competition April 5-7 at Disney World's Epcot Center.

The FIRST competition provides an opportunity for students to learn what engineering really is and how science and technology can be not only challenging but also interesting and fun. Jo Ann Charleston, chief of the Office of Educational Programs at Glenn, remarked, "This is an education of concepts; it opens up a whole new career field for the students."

This will be the second year that Rhodes and Glenn have worked together to build both a championship robot and, just as importantly, "a close relationship among the technicians and engineers and the students in which they can interact as equals," said Larry Oberle, FIRST project manager at Glenn.

This year Glenn also has served as sponsor and mentor for three other teams from the Greater Cleveland area--Max S. Hayes Vocational School and Beachwood and East Technical High Schools--and a team from Eastmoor Academy in Columbus, OH. This is Rhodes' third year competing in FIRST, East Tech's eighth year and Eastmoor's second year. The Beachwood and Max Hayes teams are rookies.

An important element in all of this is the sponsorship of the teams by local industry and academia. Rhodes is sponsored by Arthur Anderson LLP; Battelle; Biomec, Inc. and Ford Motor Co. Sponsors of the other teams include, among others, Cleveland State University's Department of Engineering Technology, the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Cleveland Sate University, TRW Incorporated, and Columbus State College.

More information about FIRST can be found at: www.USFIRST.org.

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