(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.
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.
The UTSA Consortium for Social Transformation; African American Studies Program presents guest speaker Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies, and African American Studies, University of California at Los Angelesand author of "Spaces of Conflict Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spacial Entitlement in Los Angeles" and "Futures of Black Radicalism." The event is free and open to the public.
University Center, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus
Put on drunk goggles and navigate a pedal cart at the U in the Driver Seat Alcohol Awareness event, hosted by UTSA PD and Sigma Lambda Gamma.
Sombrilla Plaza, Main Campus
The UTSA Honors College hosts a sneak CineFestival preview of the documentary Somos Lengua, a new documentary about the Mexican hip hop scene. Jim Mendiola, the CineFestival Director, will screen the movie and present a festival overview.
University Center, Bexar Room (UC 1.102), Main Campus
Grab your friends, family, kids and dog for this annual fun run on the UTSA Main Campus benefititng the UTSA Alumni Association.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
Join the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching for the 13th annual Storytelling Festival. The festival will feature keynote speaker Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, a Colombian Storyteller and journalist. This event is free and open to the public.
Main Building, ground floor, Main Campus
The IDS Colloquium showcases the excellent scholarship done by the IDS students in the College of Education and Human Development at UTSA. In addition, this event also honors the legacy of Dr. Marian Martinello.
Business Building, University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
The Department of Biology and the Be the Match Team will collaborate to engage and educate our students in the importance of a life saving donation through peripheral blood stem cells and a marrow harvest.
UC Paseo and Central Plaza, Main Campus
UTSA welcomes the Italian-born duo Bandini-Chiacchiaretta. They've toured the world performing Argentine Tango music on guitar and bandoneon, the instrument of Astor Piazzolla. Tickets are $10 or free with UTSA Student I.D.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
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