SUU Hosts FIRST Tech Challenge Utah Championship

Published: May 10, 2021 | Author: Southern Utah University | Read Time: 2 minutes

FIRST Tech Challenge Championship at SUUOn April 10, 24 junior high and high school teams from across Utah gathered at Southern Utah University for the FIRST Tech Challenge Utah Championship. After six hours of tough competition, Team Without a Cool Acronym (TWCA) from Hurricane won the Inspire Award.

The FIRST Tech Challenge is a robotics competition for students in grades 7-12. Teams are responsible for designing, building and programming robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge. In addition to learning robotics principles, students who participate in the competition learn skills such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, fair competition and respect.

“I am so proud of all my Utah teams,” said FTC Utah Championship Director Laurel Dodgion. “They weathered a lot of challenges this year. We had teams who could not meet in person, teams who could only see mentors over video conferencing, and teams that organized STEM outreach events just to see them canceled. These teams overcame all of that, in addition to meeting the game challenge. They were even able to compete in-person, something over 90% of FIRST teams cannot do this season.”

Awards are given for both robot games and judged categories and highlight engineering, robotic solutions, industry partnerships, K-12 STEM involvement, programming and design. Top teams in the judged awards included Team 16091 Team Without a Cool Acronym (TWCA), Team 5667 Robominers, Team 10373 Black Ops, Team 15413 Toaster Medics, Team 18231 Twisted Royals, Team 8641 The Masters Remastered, Team 12351 Nuclear Minds, and Team 16821 Electromagnetic Pulses.

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is recognized as the leading, non-profit STEM engagement program for kids worldwide. FIRST’s goal is to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology while encouraging them to consider education and careers in STEM fields.

According to FIRST, evidence from ongoing study shows that FIRST is meeting its goal to increase the number of young people interested in STEM, as well as boosting their interest beyond participation in the program to their educational and career choices. FIRST participants develop skills in teamwork, problem solving and communication, preparing them for success in school and the future workforce.

“Over 75% of FIRST alumni throughout the world are in a STEM field as a student or professional,” said Dodgion. “We have several FTC alumni who are now students at SUU, with the majority in the Engineering & Technology and Computer Science & Information Systems departments. We have also seen that FTC influences girls to go into engineering and computer science fields more than many other programs.”

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. Students and adults interested in joining or starting a team can visit for more information.

Tags: College of Engineering and Computational Sciences

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