Posted: 3/08/16

Local, Regional Students Place at First Robotics Competition at TAMIU


Third Place Team Members at Competition
Cong. Cuellar ('82) congratulates Third Place winners, the MSEIP Girls.  

Over 250 high school students competed in the first-ever Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) IV Robotics Competition at Texas A&M International University Saturday, Feb, 27.  Some 20 teams vied for places and prizes at the TAMIU Student Center.

The event, dubbed “Mission: Mars Unmanned Vehicle Rescue,”  featured Congressman Henry Cuellar (’82), who awarded prizes to the competing teams.  Cong. Cuellar’s support of STEM activities at the University has been crucial to this event and the week long Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM Alliance), which preceded the GEAR UP Robotics Competition.  The competition is designed to increase interest in STEM-related careers.

During the competition, the students had to create a miniature unmanned vehicular robot that rescues a man on Mars.

Judges included the faculty members of the TAMIU School of Engineering, who scored the teams based on three competition tiers including whether the robot followed a marked path, a video presentation promoting the teams’ robots and the team’s creativity and design.

Earning Overall First Place was Thelma R. Salinas STEM Early College High School

of La Joya Independent School District.  The prize for the 10-member team, “Fantastic 10,” is an all-expenses paid trip to the iD Tech Summer Camp – Robotics Engineering and Coding at Rice University (June 19 – July 1), with a paid tuition per student of  $4,500.

Second Place was awarded to Palmview High School, also of La Joya ISD.  The prize for the 10-member “Deimos” team was an all-expenses paid trip to the Aggie STEM Summer Camp at Texas A&M University, at a paid tuition of $2,500 per student.

The MSEIP STEM Enrichment Academy of Laredo and United ISD took Third Place.  The 10-member, all-girl team, the MSEIP Girls, will be awarded an all-expenses paid trip to the CODE @ TACC Summer Camp at The University of Texas in Austin, with a paid tuition value of $2,400 per student.

Additional students in categories receiving “Best” Awards receive a Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CX Graphing Calculator and will participate in the Texas Instruments / GEAR UP IV Engineering trip. They will visit engineering departments of various universities in Texas August 1-4, 2016.  

Best Video:  “Fantastic Ten,” by Thelma R. Salinas STEM Early College High School,

La Joya ISDteam.

Best Ecosystem: “Sojourner Jr.,” Jimmy Carter Early College High School of La Joya ISD.

Best Robot Design: “Project X,” C. C. Winn High School, Eagle Pass ISD.

 Best Team Spirit:  “Az-Tch,” Eagle Pass High School, Eagle Pass ISD.

In addition, Teacher Awards were provided to first, second and third place teams.  These prizes provide all-expenses paid trips for the teachers to the Aggie STEM Teacher Boot Camp 2016 this summer at a cost per teacher of $1,200.

GEAR UP IV is a federally funded program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

The GEAR UP IV “Creating a Vision” project is a partnership grant between TAMIU and 20 school districts throughout the South Texas covering approximately 14,792 square miles. It is the third largest GEAR UP in the nation and is designed to provide low-income students with the skills, motivation and preparation needed to successfully pursue a postsecondary education and be successful in the postsecondary education setting.

For more information on GEAR UP IV at TAMIU, please contact: Dr. Julio Madrigal, TAMIU professor and executive director of Special Programs, at 956.326.2720, email jfmadrigal@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Student Center in room 126G.