University News

FIRST Robotics Competition Held at Western New England University

Published: March 28, 2019 | Categories: Engineering, All News

More Than 800 High School Students From Across New England Recognized For Outstanding Achievement

Student working on a robot.

Attended by some 1,700 fans, families, educators, and industry leaders, the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition "Destination: Deep Space" awarded several teams with honors for design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high impact partnerships between schools, businesses, and communities. Held at Western New England University on March 23 and 24, the 30 teams competed to earn a spot at the FIRST Championship, slated for Houston, TX April 17-20 and Detroit, MI April 24-27.

With the hope of winning one of several coveted awards, high school students worked with professional mentors to design and build a robot over a six-week period that solved a problem using a kit of parts and a standard set of rules.

The 2019 game, "DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE," had the FIRST Robotics Competition teams collecting samples on Planet Primus. Two competing alliances combated unpredictable terrain and weather patterns, making remote robot operation essential to their mission on the planet. With only two minutes and thirty seconds until liftoff, the alliances had to gather as many cargo pods as possible and prepare their spaceships for departure before a sandstorm was to arrive.

"The skills that you develop here when you're designing these robots... NASA is solving those same kinds of problems," former astronaut Dan Burbank told participants as the competition got underway.

A veteran of multiple Space Shuttle missions, Burbank noted that with new spacecraft currently being developed and plans for a space station on the surface of the moon, a new generation of students will soon be following in the footsteps of those who planned and executed the Apollo missions 50 years ago.

"The jobs that you are going to build, the things that you're going to do, right now you can't even imagine," Burbank said.

Students participating in FIRST are eligible to apply for more than $19 million in scholarships from leading universities, colleges, and companies. Scholarship announcements are made at the FIRST championship. Since its beginning, FIRST has significantly improved students' attitudes toward math, science, and teamwork. Students who participate show increased interest in pursuing internships and employment opportunities in science and engineering, especially with companies that are involved with FIRST.

Western New England University awards its own FIRST Robotics scholarship automatically to any student, regardless of area of academic interest, who has participated in one or more of the FIRST competitions.

Commenting on the experience of the entire weekend, Dr. Christian Salmon, assistant professor of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management at Western New England University noted, "We are very happy to have hosted the FIRST Robotics Competition as a FRC district event. We believe it was successful by every measure, and we look forward to working with FIRST to ensure that we will have the opportunity to host the event again next year."

Winners of the FIRST Robotics 2019 NE District Western NE Event include:

District Chairman's Award
Tech Tigers (Mercy High School), Middletown, CT

District Engineering Inspiration Award
Birds of Prey (HPHS Academy of Engineering and Green Technology & Pathways to Technology Magnet School), Hartford, CT

District Event Winner
Aces High (Connecticut 4-H Foundation, Inc. & Windsor Locks High School & Suffield High School), Windsor Locks, CT

District Event Winner
Cyber Knights (Southington High School), Southington, CT

District Event Winner
Mechanical Advantage (Littleton STEM Education Foundation), Littleton, MA

District Event Finalist
The 2nd Law Enforcers (Farmington High School), Farmington, CT

District Event Finalist
Operation PEACCE Robotics (Mavis & Litchfield County 4-H), Bristol, CT

District Event Finalist
The Fun Gang (Achievement First Amistad High School), New Haven, CT

Safety Award sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories
Sim-City (Simsbury High School), Simsbury, CT

Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors
The 2nd Law Enforcers (Farmington High School), Farmington, CT

Highest Rookie Seed
NWC PRIDE (Northwest Catholic High School), West Hartford, CT

Judges' Award
MAX (Wolcott High School), Wolcott, CT

Rookie All Star Award
Disruptive Technologies (Family/Community), Danbury, CT

Rookie Inspiration Award sponsored by National Instruments
The Fun Gang (Achievement First Amistad High School), New Haven, CT

Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers
FullMetal Falcons (Xavier High School), Middletown, CT

Team Spirit Award sponsored by FCA Foundation
Alumnati (4-H Tolland County), Storrs Mansfield, CT

Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi
IBOTS (Stafford Technical Center), Rutland, VT

Gracious Professionalism Award sponsored by Johnson & Johnson
Mechanical Advantage (Littleton STEM Education Foundation), Littleton, MA

Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox
CyberKnights (Southington High School), Southington, CT

Quality Award sponsored by Motorola Solutions Foundation
Aces High (Connecticut 4-H Foundation, Inc. & Windsor Locks High School & Suffield High School), Windsor Locks, CT

Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation
The Panther Project (Pomperaug Regional High School), Southbury/Middlebury, CT

Autonomous Award sponsored by Ford
Gaelhawks (Shelton High School), Shelton, CT

Imagery Award in honor of Jack Kamen
Team Paragon (Windsor High School), Windsor, CT