Posted: 1/20/11

TAMIU Sets Orientation Meeting Saturday for FIRST Tech Challenge



High school students eyeing an engineering or science future may want to take part in a new and progressive robotics competition, the “FIRST® Tech Challenge,” taking place at Texas A&M International University March 26.  Teams are now being formed.             

Students, teachers and parents interested in registering or getting teams prepared should attend an orientation meeting Saturday, Jan. 22 at TAMIU’s University Success Center, room 101A from 9 – 11 a.m.

The first of its kind tournament, sponsored by the non-profit organization, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), will provide a grant to cover start up costs and registration fees for a robotics project. Engineers from TAMIU’s Department of Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics volunteer to provide students technical advice throughout the project, said Kimberly Martin del Campo, TAMIU Continuing Education program coordinator.

“TAMIU is proud to announce its partnership with FIRST® as a tournament host,” Martin del Campo said, “This tournament is an opportunity for Laredo high school students to become more aware of engineering and science fields while receiving technical advice and mentorship from TAMIU’s engineering faculty and their own teachers. The learning opportunity can’t get better than this.”

The TAMIU tournament will serve to select qualifying groups from Laredo. Winners will move to the statewide competition taking place in Lubbock in May, Martin del Campo said.

Up to 25 groups comprised of three to 10 students will be accepted in the qualifying tournament, Martin del Campo said. Student groups must be supported by a non-profit organization before registering.

“So far, we have 8 teams registered,” Martin del Campo noted.

FIRST® was founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire interest and participation in science and technology among the youth, Martin del Campo said.

Students who participate in FIRST® programs show an increased understanding of the role of science and technology in everyday life, an elevated interest in science and technology, improved self confidence, an increased motivation to do well in school, and a greater drive to pursue higher education, she explained.

For more information or for registration information, contact Martin del Campo at 326.2765, e-mail kimberly.mc@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in Pellegrino Hall 302A.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu