by Diane VanDyke
On Saturday, Dec. 7, students from 36 high school robotics teams from around the region will converge at Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell to battle for first place in the FIRST® Robotics Eastern Regional Qualifier event. The competition will be held in the College’s Physical Education Center, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is available in the lot off Cathcart Road. The public is invited to come and watch the event.
The FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics competition challenges the student teams to build and program robots to perform certain tasks while following specific rules and staying within the time limits. Students have the opportunity to learn from engineers and scientists who volunteer as mentors and experience real-world engineering and science.
Winners of the regional competitions proceed to the PA State championship with an opportunity to continue advancement to the next tiers; the East Super Regional competition and potentially the World Championship in St. Louis, Mo. Participants in the competition are often eligible for college scholarships based upon the knowledge, skills and experience they gain from competing in this event.
The Department of Engineering at the College has been partnering with FIRST® for the past five years to host this remarkable sporting event for technology students.
Volunteers for the event include industry and academic professionals serving as judges, MCCC engineering students volunteering for the extensive variety of positions required to support the event, and FIRST® official personnel working to ensure all participants have an extraordinary experience.
Inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST® designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering.