30 U.S. high schools receive grant for Robotics Competition
Event Sponsored by VCU’s School of Engineering and NASA Langley Research Center
Thursday, Jan. 13, 2000
Thirty high schools from around
the nation were recently awarded scholarships to participate in the FIRST (For Inspiration
and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition hosted by Virginia
Commonwealth University’s School of Engineering and NASA Langley Research Center.
More than half of the schools that received grants are from Virginia.
Funding provided by NASA Langley Research Center and the Virginia Business-Education
Partnership will allow hundreds of students to participate in the robot building contest
scheduled for March 16 - 18 at VCU’s Stuart C. Siegel Center.
Scholarships were awarded to schools in Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri,
North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. In addition, 16 high
school teams in Virginia received scholarships.
NASA Langley Research Center awarded $6,000 scholarships to:
l Blacksburg High School - Blacksburg
l Explorer’s Club - Richmond
l Grundy High School - Grundy
l J.R. Tucker - Richmond
l Norfolk Technical Vocational Center - Norfolk
l St. Michael’s School - Richmond
The Virginia Business-Education Partnership awarded $5,000 scholarships to:
l Appomattox Regional Governor School - Petersburg
l Chesterfield Technical Center - Richmond
l Commonwealth Governor School - Fredericksburg
l Hermitage Technical Center - Richmond
l Herndon High School - Herndon
l John F. Kennedy High School - Richmond
l Orange County High School - Orange
l Phoebus High School - Hampton
l Richmond Community High School - Richmond
l Woodbridge Senior High School - Woodbridge
Six weeks prior to the regional competition, teams from each school will be presented
with boxes of parts and contest rules. With guidance from engineers, scientists and
corporate leaders, each group must construct a remote-controlled robot capable of
competing "gladiator style" against other robots.
Powered by batteries and guided by joysticks, the robots will crawl, claw and compete
in athletic-style contests. The dueling nature of the head-to-head competition tests
students’ math, science and engineering skills and requires teams to build offensive
and defensive capabilities into their designs.
Founded in 1992 by Dean Kamen, a New Hampshire inventor-engineer, the FIRST Robotics
Competition seeks to inspire a desire for scientific learning and encourage the pursuit of
a profession in engineering.
"We hope this competition will not only ignite a new generation of engineers and
scientists, but also motivate high school students to achieve academically," said
Robert Mattauch, Ph.D., VCU School of Engineering dean.
The competition in Richmond is one of 10 regional FIRST Robotics events. Following
regionals, the FIRST national championship will be held in April at Epcot of Walt Disney
World in Orlando, Fla.