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02-010
For Release: February 5, 2002

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


Robotics Education Encouraged through Scholarships and a Regional Competition

They're off and running! Twenty-three teams of high school students located in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, and New York are starting to build remote-controlled robots to participate in the 2002 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.

Each team has been awarded a scholarship by NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, which includes the $5,000 entry fee for the FIRST Buckeye Regional competition to be held in Cleveland and an additional $l,000 to be used by the teams for travel or other expenses. A list of the high schools that received scholarships from Glenn is attached.

"Glenn is excited about bringing the Buckeye Regional to the Cleveland area and being able to support so many students in this program," said Jo Ann Charleston, chief of the Office of Educational Programs at Glenn.

The first annual Buckeye Regional will take place at the Cleveland State University Convocation Center in Cleveland March 14-16 featuring 54 high school teams from around the country. Glenn Research Center is sponsoring the event in cooperation with corporations, educational institutions and organizations throughout the Greater Cleveland area. This local competition is one of a series of regionals concluding with the championship event at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center at the end of April.

Several of the teams awarded scholarships are veterans of the FIRST competition. As veterans, they are required by the scholarships to mentor one of the 10 rookie teams. This results not only in themselves benefiting from the challenges of competing but also the teams who are new to the robotics competition benefiting from their knowledge and experience. Also, teams can only receive a scholarship from NASA twice, and veteran teams are required to raise matching funds. So, in addition to what the team members learn about engineering, they also develop marketing, public relations and fund-raising skills.

The game, its rules and the layout of the playing field for this year's competition were revealed to the teams by FIRST at a Kick-off event on January 5. The following week each team received an identical kit of parts to use in constructing their robots. Over the next six weeks they will be working intensely with engineers and technicians from the corporations and academic institutions that cosponsor them to design, construct and master maneuvering their robots in preparation for the regional and championship competitions.

Instead of working directly with teams to build robots, this year Glenn decided to take on the enormous task of sponsoring a regional competition, which will be the first to be held in Ohio. A committee of representatives from industry, academia and community organizations is working together to plan the FIRST Buckeye Regional-an event involving over 60 teams, 1500 students, 14 judges and 90 volunteers.

This year NASA will sponsor over 130 high schools that will join hundreds of others participating in the FIRST robotics competition. The group of NASA-sponsored teams includes many from disadvantaged schools. Additionally, NASA is cosponsoring more than half of the regional competitions that are being held around the country.

Glenn's involvement with FIRST started in 1994. The following year Glenn sponsored a team of students from Cleveland's East Technical High School. They were the first urban school to participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition and the first team ever sponsored by a NASA center. East Tech placed in the top ten that year and has continued to compete in regional and national competitions, receiving much recognition and many awards. Through the years Glenn has sponsored and worked with four other schools: James Ford Rhodes High School, Max S. Hayes Vocational High School and Beachwood High School in the Greater Cleveland area and Eastmoor Academy in Columbus.

FIRST is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen. FIRST seeks to inspire in young people, their schools and communities an appreciation of science and technology and how mastering these can enrich the lives of all.

Further information about the FIRST Buckeye Regional Robotics Competition can be found at: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/OEP/first/regional/index.htm

Additional information about FIRST is located at: http://www.usfirst.org

# # #


High Schools Awarded FIRST Scholarships From NASA Glenn Research Center
Ohio Alliance:  Alliance High School
Beachwood: Beachwood High School
Bedford: Bedford High School
Cleveland: Cleveland Central Catholic High School
East Technical High School
James Ford Rhodes High School
Max S. Hayes Vocational High School
Cincinnati: Northwest High School
Columbus: East High School
Eastmoor Academy
Marian-Franklin High School
Cuyahoga Heights: Cuyahoga Heights High School
Dayton: Sinclair Community College
East Cleveland: Shaw High School
Girard: Girard High School
Michigan Ann Arbor: Huron High School
Fenton: Fenton High School
Saginaw: Buena Vista High School
Southfield: Southfield High School
Indiana Indianapolis: Walker Career Center
West Virginia Morgantown: Morgantown High School
Parkersburg: Parkersburg High School
New York Fairport: Fairport High School



 

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