Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Texas A&M-Kingsville to Serve as Fall 2007 Site for Middle, High School BEST Robotics and Science Competition

KINGSVILLE - August 23, 2007

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

Coastal Bend middle school and high school students will travel to Texas A&M University-Kingsville in September and October with artwork, posters, speeches and robots in tow.

The university will serve as the local competition site, or “hub” site, for two concurrent competitions from BEST Robotics Inc., a nonprofit, volunteer organization. BEST stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology. An organizational meeting kicks off the competition Sept. 1 at A&M-Kingsville, followed by an Oct. 6 event where participants will demonstrate their projects and receive feedback. The competition then follows a week later on Oct. 13.

The mission of the organization is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology through participation in a sports-like science and engineering-based robotics competition.

Specifically, the two parallel competitions are a robotics game and a design competition in which teams seek to best embody the concept of BEST. Both competitions follow the same theme and this year, that theme is “2007 Space Odyssey.”

In the robotics game, teams spend six weeks building a radio-controlled robot from a supply kit provided by A&M-Kingsville’s Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering. The robots will then compete with each other in a series of three-minute, round robin matches to judge performance.

The goal of the design competition is to earn the BEST award. Elements to be judged include a project summary notebook, oral presentation, table display, and spirit and sportsmanship. The table display can be made any number of ways, including video, art, poster or model.

Currently, one middle and 11 high schools in South Texas are registered to be at A&M-Kingsville on Saturday, Sept. 1 for the competitions’ kickoff. That day, teams will go over requirements and supplies will be dispersed. The registered schools include:

Alice High School
Banquete High School
Ben Bolt High School
Calallen High School
Eagle Pass High School
Falfurrias High School
Flour Bluff High School
Gregory-Portland High School
H.M. King High School
Ingleside High School
Innovation Academy for Engineering, Environmental and Marine Science
Port Aransas High School

Robot designers will return to campus Saturday, Oct. 6 for Demo Day, where they will have a chance to test their designs on the course and make adjustments. The next Saturday, Oct. 13, will be the day of the competition.

Executive director of the project at A&M-Kingsville is Sheryl Custer, who also serves as executive assistant to the dean of the College of Engineering. She notes that the design elements of the competition offer something for students who may not consider themselves engineering-inclined—writing, verbal skills and artistic vision can all come into play with a presentation. Teams can be of any size, but judges will be taking the equal participation of team members into consideration.

Hub site A&M-Kingsville and the College of Engineering provide the supplies, competition locations and necessary volunteers—all of which allow the 12 participating schools to take part in the BEST competitions at no charge.

Volunteer positions in judging, hospitality and hosting are available for those that wish to donate their time to the BEST events. For those interested, call Custer at 361-593-2799.

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