Wayne State to host FIRST Robotics district competition in March

For the second consecutive year, Wayne State University will welcome approximately 1,200 high school students from Detroit and other nearby communities for the FIRST Robotics Detroit District Championship. The 40-team competition, which is free and open to the public, will take place March 15 and 16 at the Matthaei Physical Education Center on Wayne State’s Midtown campus.

“FIRST Robotics competitions play a crucial role in fostering STEM skills, teamwork and innovation,” said Jasmine Roberson, director of community engagement for the Wayne State University College of Engineering. “We are proud of this partnership and hope to inspire students to pursue careers in technology and engineering, contributing to Detroit's technological advancement and economic growth.”

Each team, aided by faculty and industry mentors, has six weeks to design and deliver their individual robot to meet specific tournament requirements. This year’s game is CRESCENDO, an arts-and-technology-themed competition in which alliances will attempt to score or play notes in three distinct field elements.

The event at Wayne State opens the third of five weeks of district competitions, leading into the Michigan State Championships at Saginaw Valley State University beginning April 4. The FIRST Robotics World Championship will be held April 17-20 in Houston.

“At Wayne State University, we believe in the power of hands-on experience to shape a future where technology and creativity converge,” said Ali Abolmaali, dean of the College of Engineering. “This event epitomizes that philosophy, and we are so pleased to welcome these bright and innovative students to our campus.”

“Hosting the competition at Wayne State is truly a win-win,” added Gail Alpert, president of FIRST in Michigan. “FIRST students have access to a great venue and exposure to all Wayne State has to offer, and Wayne State has a chance to recruit from a target audience high school students interested in STEAM.”

More than half of the competing teams are from within the city of Detroit. Many of the participants will have the opportunity to continue their education at Wayne State, should they so choose, through the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge, which offers free tuition to students of Detroit high schools or Detroit residents earning a high school diploma. The College of Engineering is also offering seven $3,000 scholarships that may be renewed over four years.

"The scholarships we are offering to FIRST Robotics assist incoming high school students in the pursuit of their passion for engineering,” said Leslie Monplaisir, associate dean for academic and student affairs in the College of Engineering. “These scholarships serve as catalysts for innovation, empowering students to reach their full potential and shape a future where creativity knows no bounds.”

Attendance and parking at the event are free. Opening ceremonies start at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 15, and at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 16; the venue will open at 8 a.m. each day. The Matthaei Center is located at the intersection of Warren Avenue and the southbound Lodge Freeway Service Drive on the southwest corner of campus.

Photo courtesy of FIRST in Michigan (taken by Daniel Ernst)


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