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Boston – The Boston University/Boston University Academy robotics team claimed the prestigious Engineering Inspiration Award at the F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Boston regional competition on March 23rd and 24th, earning a spot in the national contest. As a result, the team composed of 25 high school students from BU Academy and six undergraduate mentors from BU will travel to Atlanta, GA on April 13th and 14th to compete against other top squads from across the country.
“The Engineering Inspiration Award isn’t about engineering that’s inspirational, it’s about inspiring others about engineering,” said Brandon Mensing, a Boston University undergraduate and the lead team mentor. “We are very excited that F.I.R.S.T. recognized our team’s passion, bestowed this honor upon us and gave us the chance to compete nationally.”
The Boston University/Boston University Academy team was also acknowledged for their extensive outreach efforts to over 20 local “rookie” teams, as well as their innovative multimedia methods to spread the message of F.I.R.S.T. externally.
Following the BU/BUA-sponsored kick-off event in January, where Boston-area teams learned about the rules of the competition and brainstormed ideas, the BU/BUA team spent six weeks designing, building and programming their robot from scratch to play a specific 3-D tic-tac-toe game. Further, the BU/BUA team successfully designed their robot to include a platform that is able to lift two other 150-pound robots, which wins the team bonus points at the end of a match.
This year, over 30,000 high school students on over 2,000 robotics teams from across the United States, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Israel, Mexico and the UK competed in 37 regional events. The Boston regional, held at Boston University’s Agganis Arena, attracted over 50 teams from the area. In addition to the BU/BUA team, four other local teams qualified to participate in the national competition.
F.I.R.S.T. is a national initiative founded by inventor Dean Kamen to encourage young people to get involved in and excited about the field of engineering. The annual F.I.R.S.T. Robotics Competition began in 1989 and serves to provide high school students the opportunity to partner with local universities and professional engineers, gain experience and skills in science, technology, teamwork and problem-solving, as well as win scholarships from higher education institutions, corporations, businesses and individuals.
Boston University Academy is a small, independent, coeducational high school fostering learning in a community environment with the unique benefit of Boston University’s resources.