(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 town hall is an opportunity for the campus community to learn more about the President's Initiative for the Downtown Campus, ask questions, and offer perspectives on potential challenges and benefits.
Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
This unofficial Fiesta celebration offers students and the community an alcohol-free alternative to Fiesta with music, games, food and fun. The 10th annual celebration is bigger than ever before with a new location, the Student Union Ballrooms and features a casino night theme.
Student Union Ballrooms (HSU 1104/1.106), Main Campus
UTSA Athletics will host a watch party for the first round of the NFL Draft. Roadrunners are invited to see which team selects former student-athlete Marcus Davenport.
Walk-On's, 11075 IH-10 West, San Antonio
UTSA students and the San Antonio community are invited to this event where people shave their head and raise money to fight childhood cancer.
Student Union Lawn, Main Campus
The former curator of literary collections for The Huntington Library will share Secrets from the Stacks: Untold Stories of Collecting the Papers of Contemporary Authors. Lecture is free and open to the public.
John Peace Library (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
Come learn about Korea and its culture through food tasting, music, dance and percussion performance, games, arts, crafts, presentations and more.
Student Union Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
Teams of four hit the links for a day of golf that supports UTSA scholarships.
Hyatt Hill Country Golf Club, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr, San Antonio
President Taylor Eighmy invites all UTSA students to "Pizza With The Prez." Come grab a slice of pizza and take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the President.
Student Union Ski Lodge Patio, 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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