UPJ holds FIRST tech challenge robotics competition


Twenty-four youth robotics teams went head to head at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on Saturday, for a FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition.

FIRST, is a non-profitnonprofit charity, and stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Their mission is to inspire kids to get involved in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fieldfields.

Some teams even traveledtraveled from as far as Wisconsin and Ohio to compete. There were two middle school teams and one high school team representing Johnstown.

"They learn that stemSTEM education and education in general is fun. And also, it prepares them for a future in education, as well as jobs. This is really a workforce development as well as a college education and preparation exercise for students," said Tom Zawislak, a volunteer with FIRST.

FIRST, works with kids from kindergarten through twelfth12th grade, all. All teams are coached and taught by volunteers. The FIRST Tech Challenge today focused on kids in grades seven through twelve12.

Teams had to design, build, program and operate robots to go head to head in a game called Rover RokusRuckus. The Robotsrobots had to collect objects on the floor and navigate obstacles.

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown hopes that having the event in town will encourage more kids to get involved.

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