March Madness Engineering Style Returns to Wayne State

DETROIT - March Madness returns to Wayne State University next weekend in the form of the FIRST Robotics Detroit Regional Championship.

The competition will be played out at the WSU Matthaei Athletic Complex Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21 with high school student participants representing some 40 teams from Michigan.

The competition is free and open to the public.

Technology and innovation begins with sparking young minds, and no other science and math program has proven more engaging to students than the nationwide FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program. Wayne State is demonstrating its support by hosting a regional for the sixth consecutive year.

Two other regionals will take place in Michigan in successive weeks in Allendale and Troy (March 27-28), along with 40 others taking place around the United States, all culminating in the National championships at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, April 16-18, 2009.

“Because it’s hands-on, it really engages students,” said Ralph Kummler, dean of the Wayne State College of Engineering. “The beautiful thing is it is not just about students looking for solutions out of their textbooks. This is about creating solutions that come out of their own minds. When you see them in action, you quickly realize they represent the best of our next generation and hope for a better future for Michigan.”

Each high school team had six weeks to design and deliver their individual robot to meet the specific game requirements of this year’s competition.
Teams compete in a spirited, no-holds barred tournament with referees, cheerleaders, scoreboards and time clocks. For the finals, two teams made up of alliances of three schools each compete head-to-head.

Through its Honors Program, Wayne State is offering three four-year full tuition Presidential Scholarships to qualifying FIRST participants. To be eligible, students must apply to Wayne State, have a 3.5 GPA, and have taken the ACT (American College Test) entrance exam.

Attendance and parking at the Detroit Regional is free. Opening ceremonies for Friday is at 11 a.m. and Saturday at 8:30 a.m., but the venue will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday. For a complete agenda, go to www.eng.wayne.edu and click on the FIRST Robotic announcement.

Wayne State’s Matthaei Athletic Complex is located at the intersection of Warren Avenue and the southbound Lodge Freeway Service Drive on the southwest corner of campus.