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Houston-based Pilgrim Academy wins annual UTSA robotics competition

Gear Winners

GEAR competition winning team from Pilgrim Academy in Houston
>> Watch a video recap of the 2010 GEAR Competition (Video by Stephanie Shropshire)

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(March 30, 2010)--Amidst loud rock music, cheering parents and high emotions, a three-student team from Pilgrim Academy in Houston emerged victorious at the 2010 Getting Excited About Robots (GEAR) Competition Saturday, March 27 at the UTSA Convocation Center. Sponsored by the AT&T Foundation and hosted by the Interactive Technology Experience Center (iTEC) in the UTSA College of Engineering the competition featured nearly 600 third through eighth graders divided into 117 teams, making GEAR the largest all-American robotics competition for children in the nation.

The GEAR 2010 game, "Up and Atom," was based on the Hadron Collider, a sophisticated tool used to research atoms, their structure and the development of new materials. Using balls, washers, magnets and switches on a four by eight-foot obstacle course-style playing field, competitors' robots injected "ions" and removed "protons" from plasma flow containers, retrieved "top quarks" and removed defective magnets.

Three seeding rounds narrowed the field from 117 teams to 16. Then, the 16 semi-finalist teams were whittled down to four. The final four included Discovery First from the School of Science & Technology Discovery in San Antonio, TMI Robotics Club from The Episcopal School of Texas in San Antonio and Triangulators from Boerne Middle School. But in the end, the finalist team from Pilgrim Academy emerged victorious.

"Engineers turn imagination and dreams into reality," said Mauli Agrawal, dean of the UTSA College of Engineering, to participants at the competition's closing award ceremony. "In 1961, President John F. Kennedy said, 'We're going to put a man on the moon.' People thought we couldn't do it. But guess what? Engineers delivered. You are all very talented. Work hard in your science and math classes, and you, too, will grow up to be scientists and engineers."

Founded by Robert Acosta, GEAR offers young students a fun opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics while growing their creativity, teamwork and problem solving skills. Although UTSA has hosted GEAR for four years, the 2010 competition was the first to be hosted by iTEC with the support of a $1.5 million grant from the AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc.

"We are proud of our support of iTEC and thrilled to see an increased interest in the fields of engineering and science, and the students' connection between education and their best future," said Michelle Thomas, AT&T assistant vice president - external affairs.


About the UTSA Interactive Technology Experience Center (iTEC)

Housed in the UTSA College of Engineering, iTEC is a four-year project that began in 2007 with a $1.5 million grant provided by the AT&T Foundation. The iTEC mission is to inspire youth by creating an environment where they can understand how engineering, science and technology shape our lives and the future of our world. The center's areas of thrust include robotics, telecommunications, scanning electron microscope applications and design for manufacturing.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates -- AT&T operating companies -- are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest 3G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services, and TV services under the AT&T U-verse and AT&T-DIRECTV brands. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In 2009, AT&T again ranked No. 1 in the telecommunications industry on FORTUNE magazine's list of the World's Most Admired Companies.

For more information about products and services, visit the AT&T Inc. Web site, follow their news on Twitter at @ATTNews, consumer and wireless services at ATT on Facebook and small business services at ATTSmallBiz on Facebook.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA's Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA's Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

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