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Young innovators gear up for VEX Robotics Competition Feb. 7

January 22, 2015 - By Kim Delker

Over 100 elementary, middle and high school VEX Robotics students and their mentors from around Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Mescalero, Los Lunas, Las Cruces and Farmington, NM, will unite at the Centennial Engineering Center on the University of New Mexico (UNM) campus on February 7 for the VEX IQ and VEX Robotics competitions.

The action-packed tournament will feature more than 24 teams who will compete with and against other schools in a series of back-to-back robot challenges, made possible by the following sponsors: The Albert I. Pierce Foundation, Los Alamos Technical Associates, the Levitated Toy Factory, NASA, and UNM’s School of Engineering.

Participants will compete for the championship title by strategically executing the “Skyrise” game, driving robots they designed, built and programmed from the ground up using the VEX Robotics Design System.

The UNM Robotics Competition is one of a series of VEX Robotics competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. VEX Robotics is the world's fastest-growing competitive robotics program for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world, with more than 7,300 teams from 26 countries that participate in more than 400 VEX Robotics Competition events worldwide. The number of New Mexican teams has doubled over last year. The competition season culminates each spring with the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship event, uniting top qualifying teams from local, state, and international VEX Robotics competitions.

"The technological economy of the future depends on equipping today's youth with the tools necessary to become tomorrow's leading innovators,” said Charles B. Fleddermann, associate dean for academic affairs at UNM's School of Engineering. "This tournament provides kids with an engaging hands-on learning experience that promotes a passion for science and technology, instilling in them an appreciation for the field and an enthusiasm to pursue STEM-related education and careers."

The VEX Robotics Competition is managed by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation and serves as a vehicle for students to develop critical life skills such as teamwork, leadership and project management, honed through building robots and competing with like-minded students from the community in a pulse-pounding, exciting, non-traditional environment. The VEX Robotics Design System was built from the ground up and designed to be an affordable, accessible and scalable platform used to teach science, technology, engineering and math education worldwide.