Hundreds of future inventors, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs and technology leaders will be on Kettering University’s campus for FIRST Robotics district competitions the next two weekends.
For the third consecutive year, Kettering is hosting double, back-to-back FIRST Robotics districts on its campus, bringing more than 80 Mid-Michigan teams to Flint in March. The first competition is March 2-3 and the second is March 9-10. For the second consecutive year, the Ford Motor Company has sponsored both competitions.
“Kettering University is the best place in the country for FIRST Robotics, and we are excited to once again welcome so many talented students and their families to our campus,” said Dr. Robert K. McMahan, Kettering University President. “Michigan has more FIRST teams than any state in the country, and Kettering has become a central hub supporting the growth of FIRST thanks in part to support from amazing partners like Ford. Support of Kettering and FIRST from Ford and other partners plays a critical role in exciting young people about the limitless possibilities that exist through a STEM education and in STEM careers.”
FIRST Robotics is an international organization aimed at inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build STEM skills, inspire innovation and foster teamwork, self-confidence, collaboration and leadership. This year’s game is called “FIRST Power Up.”
FIRST Power Up has an 8-bit video game theme and involves two alliances of three teams each, with each team controlling a robot and performing specific tasks to score points. Teams use robots to place milk crates (or “power cubes”) on balancing scales to tip the scale and gain ownership. Alliances can also trade power cubes for power ups, giving them a temporary advantage in a match. At the end of the match, robots climb the tower attached to the center of the balancing scale, giving them additional points.
Kettering University is a longtime supporter of FIRST Robotics. This is the 19th year Kettering has hosted a FIRST competition on its campus, and the ninth year the University has hosted at least one districts. The University became the first site in the country to host back-to-back district tournaments in 2016, and has continued that tradition since. Kettering was also one of the first universities in the country to award FIRST Robotics scholarships, providing more than $4 million in scholarships to FIRST participants since 1999.
The FIRST Robotics Community Center at Kettering University is the only facility of its kind on a college campus in the country. It provides residential space for eight high school teams, hosts visiting teams throughout the year and hosts a range of summer camps that attract participants from all over the U.S. The facility gives students access to state-of-the-art equipment and mentors and provides them with an immersive experience on the campus of one of the country’s top STEM and Business universities.