January 27, 2016

Media Advisory – Robotics Competition

A robotics competition featuring 23 teams of junior high and high school students from three states will take place Saturday, Jan. 30, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Transportation Education Center at the Southern Illinois Airport. 

The First Tech Challenge program brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) principles together with innovation, creativity and competition. A synopsis of the competition and a video detailing game rules are available here. The non-profit FIRST, or “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” has a mission of motivating young people to pursue education and careers in STEM fields. This is the second year SIU Carbondale has hosted the regional event. 

After robot inspection and judging from 8 to 9:30 a.m., opening ceremonies start at 10 a.m. Matches are from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and from 1 to 3:15 p.m. Playoffs begin at 3:30 p.m., with the awards presentation at 5 p.m. 

Organizers suggest that the best time for reporters, photographers and news crews will be between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and from 1 to 3 p.m. The competing teams are a mix of high school, home school, junior high, 4-H and community robotics clubs from Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin. The teams will compete for a berth in the Illinois State FTC Championships at Elgin Community College on Feb. 27, with a goal of reaching the FTC World Championships in St. Louis, April 27-30. 

Event coordinators Joe and Sue Kunzeman of Decatur, FTC Illinois Organizing Team members, participants, and several members of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, including Michael Behrmann, chair, Department of Automotive Technology, will be available for interviews. Several registered student organizations, including ATO (Automotive Technology Organization) and the ATMAE (Association of Technology Management and Applied Engineering) Robotics Club, are involved with the event, including assisting in arranging rides to the Transportation Education Center. 

Nearly 400 students, coaches, parents and volunteers are expected. Each of the 23 teams average about eight members per team. Participating teams include Kankakee junior and senior high squads; Heritage Christian School, New Berlin, Wis.; Decatur 4-H Club; Notre Dame Regional High School, Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Science Academy of Chicago, Mount Prospect; Edwardsville Robotics Club; Manual High School, Peoria; Heyworth 4-H Club; Gateway Science Academy, St. Louis; Urbana 4-H Club; Rochester High School; Maryville Christian School, and the Glen Carbon Girl Scouts. 

For more information on teams and making pre-event arrangements, contact Sue Kunzeman at 217/855-4643.