NJ FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition for high school students has scheduled the 2005 New Jersey Remote Kick-off for Saturday, Jan. 8, at the Campus Center of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The New Jersey/New York City FIRST regional office is based at NJIT, which also offers scholarships to local high school students who participate in the FIRST competition. NJIT students, moreover, act as mentors to many of the high school students. The Center for Pre-College Programs at NJIT also offers workshops for coaches of the high school teams.
The schedule for the kick-off is as follows: 8:30 a.m. - Registration, Networking, Breakfast; 9:30 a.m. - Welcome and Introduction; 10 a.m. - Downlink of Kick-off and Game Unveiling from Manchester, N.H.; 12:00 Noon - Lunch; 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. - Workshops; 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.- Kit Distribution.
The remote kick-off is being held in preparation for the 2005 New Jersey FIRST Regional Competition, sponsored by Johnson and Johnson, and scheduled for March 17 to 19 at the Sovereign Bank Arena, Trenton. At this time, 63 high school teams are registered to attend the event.
The kick-off brings representatives of participating high school teams together in preparation for the March competition. The schedule of events will include a satellite downlink from Manchester, N.H., home of F.I.R.S.T. Robotics, as well as a series of workshops for students including “Pneumatics,” “80-20 Structural Systems,” “Control System Programming,” and a “Rookie Workshop.”
Dozens of NJIT students act as mentors to the high school teams. NJIT will also award up to five merit scholarships to selected Newark high school seniors who have been members of a FIRST team at their high schools.
The event concludes with distribution of the robot kits and a presentation of the goal for the 2005 game. The kits will be used by the teams of high school students, partnered with corporate engineers, who will construct the robots over the six weeks prior to the regional competition.
The FIRST Robotics Competition is a multinational event that teams professionals and young people to solve an engineering design problem. In 2004, the competition reached more than 20,000 students, divided into 900 teams. Teams come from Canada, Brazil, Great Britain, and almost every U.S. state. The competitions are high-tech spectator sporting events, the result of focused brainstorming, real-world teamwork, dedicated mentoring, project timelines and deadlines.
The competition brings together engineers who volunteer their time, and high school students, who together construct robots designed to perform a specific function. Colleges, universities, corporations, businesses, and individuals provide scholarships to participants. The engineers who help the students experience again many of the reasons they chose engineering as a profession, and the companies they work for contribute to the community while also preparing a future workforce. The competition shows students that the technological fields hold many opportunities and that the basic concepts of science, math, engineering, and invention are exciting and interesting.
FIRST sanctions two science competitions, the FIRST Robotics competition for high school students, and the FIRST LEGO League for middle school students. Through the FIRST Robotics competition, more than 800 teams participate in North America in a total of 23 regional events and a championship event. For more information, visit the website at www.usfirst.org or for FIRST Lego League, www.firstlegoleague.org.