Feb. 19: FIRST Tech Challenge regional event in Junker Center

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, will host the regional qualifying competition for the 2011 FIRST Tech Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 19. Two hundred high school students from Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio are expected to attend the day-long event in the college’s Junker Center.

The challenge begins with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. and ends with awards presentation at 4:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

In a FIRST Tech Challenge event, teams of up to 10 students in grades nine to 12 use engineering principles to design, build and program robots that compete head-to-head in a round-robin format. This year’s challenge, “Get Over It,” requires the robots to balance on a bridge and manipulate small batons. Awards are given not only for competition success, but also for strategy development, community outreach, design and other real-world accomplishments.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international nonprofit founded by inventor Dean Kamen to help young people find and develop a passion for science. During the 2009-10 academic year, more than 210,000 children ages 6-18 and 90,000 mentors, coaches and volunteers in 56 countries participated in FIRST events. For additional information about FIRST, visit usfirst.org.

FIRST Tech Challenge’s Penn State Behrend event is sponsored by the college’s School of Engineering, which offers three associate and seven bachelor’s degree programs, as well as one minor. Each program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) or the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Students have access to 11 student chapters of honorary and professional organizations, such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). The School of Engineering and the Sam and Irene Black School of Business are co-located in the college’s $30 million, 160,000-square-foot Research and Economic Development Center, making Penn State Behrend one of the first institutions of higher education in the country to house its engineering and business schools together in the same facility. For more information, visit behrend.psu.edu.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011