Press Kit 2020

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH MEDIA RELEASE

 

Contacts:

— Mark Minor, mechanical engineering associate professor, event chair – office 801-587-7771, cell 801-879-5817, mark.minor@utah.edu

— Chelsey Short, director, Regional FIRST Robotics –
cell 801-792-8707, cshort@firstinspires.org

— Lorie Mauer, Trinity Mauer’s mother (Trinity is available for interviews upon request) – cell, 801-230-5256, loriemauer@gmail.com

— Vince Horiuchi, public relations associate, College of Engineering –office 801-585-7499, cell 801-556-5187, vincent.horiuchi@utah.edu

 

May the Force be with them!

Bots will battle it out March 6 and 7 in ‘Star Wars’-themed FIRST Robotics Competition at Maverik Center.

March 4, 2020 — Hundreds of high school students from Utah and around the country will attempt to save the world with their homemade robots in this year’s Utah FIRST Robotics Competition at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.

The annual event, which will bring 54 student teams from Utah and around the country — even the Netherlands — will be held Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7 in the center’s main arena at 3200 S. Decker Lake Drive. The event, co-organized by the University of Utah’s College of Engineering, is free and open to the public. (The best place to park for news media is on the south side of the stadium near the “VIP/Will Call entrance. Parking is free.)

This year’s game is called “Infinite Charge,” a “Star Wars”-themed contest in which the teams design and build robots that must collect and store power cells (in the form of balls) in order to energize a shield generator. At the start, the robots must autonomously score the points, and in the second half, students manually operate the droids. The team with the highest score wins the match.

Teams that win the Utah regional competition as well as select award winners will move on to the FIRST national championship held April 15-18 in Houston and April 29-May 2 in Detroit.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition helps promote and foster science and technology learning among the nation’s high school students, creating a new generation of engineers, programmers and scientists. Each year, the competition takes on a different theme, and the nature of the game changes.

“FIRST kind of tricks students into learning and applying STEM skills with this fun platform, but then we recognize and celebrate it. Then we’re all hooked, adult mentors and volunteers included!” said Regional FIRST Robotics Director Chelsey Short.

For Beehive Science and Technology Academy senior Trinity Mauer, she says the power of robots and the FIRST Robotics program helped her escape the traumatic memories of an abusive family.

The 17-year-old Sandy girl was born into a home ravaged by drug and alcohol abuse as well as domestic abuse. The ordeal left her non-verbal and introverted.

But Trinity, who was adopted into a foster family when she was 4 years old, said her experience with the FIRST Robotics program and being part of Jordan High School’s FIRST Robotics team has opened her up and allowed her to embrace new relationships with friends.

“FIRST Robotics changed my life and gave me back my voice, along with enough confidence to use it,” she said. “Every year, I find ways to try to reach more and more kids through mentoring and outreach because somewhere out there, there is a kid like me.”

Thanks, in part, to the program igniting her interest in science and technology, Trinity has received the STEM Action Center’s STEM Student of the Year and was named the regional winner from the National Center for Women & Information in Technology. She says she wants to go to a local college to earn an engineering degree.

Along with the University of Utah’s College of Engineering, the event’s main sponsors include the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation (Founding Sponsor), Brahma Group, Inc.; Boeing; Stem Action Center Dominion Energy, Northrop Grumman, BioFire Diagnostics and Staker Parson.

 

Video and photo opportunities for news media include:

  • Opening ceremonies: Friday and Saturday, 8:30 to 9 a.m.
  • Qualification matches: Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5:45 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
  • Final rounds: Saturday, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Awards ceremonies: Saturday, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
  • Pits: Opens Friday and Saturday at 8 a.m.

 

For more information about this year’s game and to view the “Infinite Charge” demo, please visit www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/game-and-season.

A full press packet with additional materials, including a description of the game and background on Utah’s FIRST Regional Competition, will be available at the volunteer desk at the stadium beginning Thursday, March 5. Digital copies of the packet are available at: www.utfrc.utah.edu/press-kit/.

###

University of Utah College of Engineering

72 S. Central Campus Dr., Room 1650 WEB, Salt Lake City, UT 84112

801-581-6911 fax: 801-581-8692

www.coe.utah.edu