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Dave Meany - EWU Media Relations
300 Showalter Hall
Cheney, WA 99004
phone: 509.359.6335
fax: 509.359.4701

Robots to Invade EWU

Published: March 22, 2012

CHENEY, Wash. - As part of its continuing commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, Eastern Washington University will for the first time host one of 55 national FIRST Robotics Competitions (FRC) April 4-7, at EWU's Reese Court Pavilion. Actual competition will take place 9 a.m.-6 p.m, Friday and Saturday, April 6-7. The event is free and open to the public.

EWU is partnering with the continuing efforts of Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) to advocate STEM awareness, community investment and active participation in STEM initiatives. With the help of GSI, nearly 130 volunteers have been recruited to help run the Robotics event at Eastern. Overall, 46 high school teams, totaling more than 1,000 students, are expected to participate in the regional competition on the Cheney campus.

Eastern has conducted several annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competitions over the past three years with its focus on fourth through eighth grade participants. The regional Robotics event provides a bigger stage, a bigger challenge and focuses on high school team participation with more than 1,500 people visiting the Eastern campus each day of the event.

Often called a varsity sport for the mind, FRC features a real-world challenge to be solved by research, critical thinking, construction, teamwork and imagination. It combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules and time limits, teams are challenged to build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors on a playing surface the approximate size of a basketball court. Watch this promotional video to get an idea for how much energy surrounds FIRST Robotics.

Winning teams from the EWU regional will advance to the FRC Championship in St. Louis, Mo., April 25-28 to compete against teams from the United States and around the world.

To support STEM education and specifically FIRST programs, EWU annually offers 15 academic scholarship awards to its freshman and sophomore students who have previously participated in FIRST competitions. Each award is for $2,000.

For more information about the FRC at Eastern please contact EWU Vice President of Advancement Mike Westfall at mwestfall@ewu.edu or 509.359.7430.

For more information about Greater Spokane Incorporated and its STEM awareness and workforce development initiatives, visit www.greaterspokane.org, or contact Shelly O'Quinn at soquinn@greaterspokane.org.

For more details about FIRST, visit www.usfirst.org.

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