SUU Named the New FTC Affiliate Partner for Utah

Published: September 10, 2020 | Author: Kierstin Pitcher-Holloway | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU becomes Utah's FIRST Tech Challenge affliateFIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) has named Southern Utah University as the affiliate partner for the state of Utah. SUU has a history with FTC, hosting tournaments and assisting teams in southern Utah for the past five years. Now as an affiliate partner, SUU will be the representative of FTC in Utah, host the state competition, and assist teams and coaches within Utah.

FIRST Tech Challenge provides teens the opportunity to join a team to create, program, and operate robots and compete. Led by coaches and mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while recognizing the value of hard work, innovation, and teamwork. SUU faculty members were interested in partnering with FTC for their notable statistics on encouraging students to continue their education.

“80% of students that participate in FTC go to college and a majority of those students major in STEM fields,” said Laurel Dodgion, academic enhancement coordinator for SUU’s College of Engineering and Computational Sciences. “SUU’s STEM Center and Engineering and Computational Sciences have also seen that FTC influences girls to go into engineering and computer science fields more than many other programs.”

In addition to helping prepare students for challenging careers, this program teaches professional skills like communication, time management, and cooperation. This is due in large part to the FIRST philosophy of gracious professionalism and it’s supporting core values.

“When the opportunity emerged to become the affiliate partner, Dodgion and her team put their best foot forward to become the stewards and leaders for FIRST in the State,” said Dr. Briget Eastep, FTC Utah advisory board member and executive director of SUU’s Outdoor Pathways. “It says a lot about SUU's commitment to STEM education going beyond the classroom and engaging youth of all ages and their mentors at a high level. Being the affiliate will strengthen the STEM community in southern Utah.”

“Students are asked to work with competing teams in competitions, it’s amazing to see how well they work together,” said Dodgion. “They are learning professional skills that are often very hard to teach. We have students coming to SUU who are prepared for challenging programs like engineering, computer science, and pre-med fields.”

Engineering, computer science, and pre-med programs are challenging and have a lower retention rate compared to other majors, but students that attend SUU after participating in FTC are ready to face the challenges of higher education head-on.

This year the FTC Kickoff Celebration and Game Reveal will be held virtually on September 12 at 10 a.m. Those interested are encouraged to contact for more information about FTC and the Kickoff event.

SUU has long been a supporter of the STEM fields in Utah, and has recently opened a physical STEM Center space on campus. Since its founding in 2014, the SUU STEM Center for Teaching and Learning has been committed to bringing STEM to southern Utah through outreach events, professional development, and high-quality STEM programming.

Tags: College of Engineering and Computational Sciences STEM

Contact Information:

Contact the Office of Marketing Communication