National Robotics Competition Arrives in Washington March 30

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2012 — (PRNewswire) —  Media representatives are invited to attend an international student robotics competition sponsored by NASA and other organizations Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW, in Washington.

The competition, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, provides access to robotics programs to encourage young people to investigate careers in the sciences and engineering, and possibly become the nation's next generation of technical leaders.

John Grunsfeld, an astrophysicist who flew five times on the space shuttle and now serves as NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, will speak during the event's opening ceremony starting at 8:45 a.m. Friday, March 30. Friday's events run until 6:30 p.m. and Saturday's from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

NASA is the largest sponsor of the national FIRST program, supporting five regional competition events and more than 280 teams. This weekend's competition will include participants from 63 high school teams from Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and eight other states.

This year, 45 regional competitions occur across the country, along with four international competitions. NASA engineers and scientists participate with many of the teams as technical participants and mentors to the students. The FIRST Championship competition will be held April 27-29 in St. Louis.

The program was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools and communities.

For information on the local teams and their activities, visit:

For more information about NASA's education programs, visit:



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