First Annual VEX Robotics State Championship to be held Sun., Feb. 24 at MSU

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Michigan State University will host the inaugural VEX Robotics State Championship at MSU on Sunday, February 24, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Jenison Field House on campus.

More than 40 VEX Robotics teams from high schools across Michigan will vie for the right to advance to the world championship in April in Anaheim, Calif.

The top teams from around the state have qualified for the state championship by winning the Excellence Award, a tournament alliance championship, or were an alliance finalist at local and regional VEX tournaments over the past five months. These teams are competing for the state title and the right to represent Michigan at the international VEX Robotics World Championship in April in Anaheim, Calif.  Excellence Award winners and State Tournament Champion Alliance teams will advance to the international tournament.

Using the VEX Robotics Design System, students build innovative robots and then compete on a 12-foot by 12-foot playing field. Each team designs, builds and programs a robot, then works together to obtain the most points possible on the challenge field.

The VEX Robotics State Championship at MSU is sponsored by the Motorola Solutions Foundation and hosted by the MSU College of Engineering Recruitment and K-12 Outreach Office.  The competition is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

"MSU's VEX Robotics program is designed to promote enthusiasm for STEM fields and help address the national shortage of engineers and scientists working on innovative technologies," says Bob Watson, K-12 outreach/robotics coordinator for the College of Engineering.  “With the support of the Motorola Solutions Foundation and MSU’s Inclusion and Intercultural Initiative Office we’ve been able to extend our efforts to schools in the Detroit and West Michigan areas that include groups of female and minority students that are underrepresented in the sciences.”

Judges for the tournament are MSU College of Engineering alumni representing top employers from across the state, including General Motors, Dart, Whirlpool, Denso, Autodesk, Behr, and ABB, as well as members of the College of Engineering alumni board and faculty.

"We’re excited to have the opportunity to put on this first annual VEX Robotics State Championship at MSU," said Drew Kim, assistant to the dean for recruitment, scholarship and K-12 outreach in MSU's College of Engineering. “This experience not only promotes students’ interest in robotics, engineering and other STEM fields, but it teaches leadership, teamwork, time management and perseverance. These students are learning how to brainstorm and work together to solve problems. These are skills that will help them throughout their lives regardless of which fields they choose to go into after high school.”