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Engaging Youth in Robotics Competitions


The Biocentric Robotics IGERT at the University of Utah has made long-term development of STEM activities for students a priority for its IGERT program. The IGERT faculty and Trainees have initiated and supported a number of FIRST Robotics competitions in Utah, which serve thousands of students in Utah and the broader Western United States.

A highlight if these activities is IGERT support for the high school level FIRST Robotics Competition in Utah. IGERT faculty member Dr. Mark Minor has led the effort to hold a regional competition in Utah. In part, due to the availability of a nearby competition, the number of high school teams has grown from just a few to a few dozen.

IGERT faculty and Trainees have been critical to the success of this large event, with IGERT personnel acting as mentors to teams and as judges and support during the multi-day competition.

The event had thousands of attendees and received a number of print and television stories reporting on this appealing outreach endeavor. The long-term effect of this activity is to bring outstanding students into the fields of mechanical engineering, computer science, and robotics.

Address Goals

The FIRST robotics competitions supported by the Biocentric Robotics IGERT reaches thousands of students who otherwise might have very little exposure to the excitement and importance of engineering fields. In addition, these programs put valuable and high-quality robotics equipment into schools, helping build facilities to support other robotics experimentation.