The event features more than 46 local and regional High School teams in a two-day progressive elimination tournament intended to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering. The event is open to the public at no charge.
In addition to sponsoring the regional competition, BAE Systems is also sponsoring seven Texas high school teams:
-- Anderson High School, Austin
-- Bellaire High School, Bellaire
-- Dunbar High School, Fort Worth
-- JJ Pearce High School, Richardson
-- Liberal Arts and Science Academy, Austin
-- Round Rock High School, Round Rock
-- Richardson High School, Richardson
"The commitment from BAE Systems for the Lone Star Regional and Texas teams is amazing," said FIRST Regional Director, Lucia Sevcik. "Through BAE Systems' support, the FRC program will grow in Texas," Sevcik added.
Since January, students have worked with community volunteer mentors to build robots that will compete in three-team alliances. These robots are designed to race around an oval track, push or carry large balls around the track, and pass the balls over or under a 6-foot-6-inch overpass. Robots may be programmed for autonomous movement and operated by radio control. Judging criteria emphasizes the quickness and capability of the robots as well as the skill and cooperation of the teams.
BAE Systems is investing more than $1 million in FIRST through donations of money, resources, and employee volunteering, making the company the largest corporate contributor to the FIRST Robotics Competition.
"Education, specifically in the area of science and engineering, is extremely important to the future sustainability of our business," said Phil Halsey, vice president, engineering for BAE Systems Mobility & Protection Systems in Sealy. "BAE Systems sponsors a number of programs to support science and technology across the US. Our scholarships to colleges and universities have enabled hundreds of students to take technical courses," Halsey said.
Beyond Texas, BAE Systems is directly supporting more than 60 teams located near company sites in 13 other states and the District of Columbia. The company is also sponsoring seven of 41 regional events, as well as the FIRST Championship, to be held April 17-19 in Atlanta.
"The amount of ingenuity and creativity these young people exhibit through these competitions is amazing," said Kent Jacobson, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems in Austin, Texas. "By sponsoring these teams and events, we hope to encourage students to continue their creative thinking process, and to potentially join our company in creating some of the finest systems available to meet the needs of our global customers."
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, NH, FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering. With the support of many of the world's most well-known companies and scientific societies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and the FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, FIRST LEGO League for children 9-to-14 years old, and Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6-to-9 year-olds. For more information, visit www.usFIRST.org.
About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defense and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 97,500 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded GBP 15.7 billion (US $31.4 billion) in 2007.