(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.
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.
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The UTSA Interactive Technology Experience Center camps are for curious youth who are interested in STEM and related topics. This week, campers will study environmental science, robotics and computer science.
UTSA Main Campus
The Curtis Vaughan Observatory at UTSA will be having open stargazing every Wednesday night during the month. This event is free and open to the public.
Curtis Vaughan Observatory, UTSA Main Campus
In four sessions of this weeklong day camp for 9 to 13-year-olds, campers will participate in indoor and outdoor activities while exploring ancient technologies from around the world and the new technologies archaeologists are using to discover them.
UTSA Center for Archaeological Research, Main Campus
Roadrunner readers dive into exciting topics during this literary adventure summer camp geared toward 6-10-year-olds, occurring Monday through Thursday for two weeks.
Buena Vista Building 3.350, Downtown Campus
Experience a very different summer camp! The UTSA East Asia Institute is teaching kids Japanese through language, culture, art, crafts, music, cooking and more. For kids age 6-12. For more details, email email@example.com.
Main Building (MB 1.126), Main Campus
7 to 12 year-olds will explore Mayan Culture in a three-day sessions, concluding at the Witte museum, where campers will have the chance to see the new "Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed" exhibit.
UTSA Center for Archaeological Research, Main Campus
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.
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