Augustana College will host the FIRST Tech Challenge Kickoff for Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge (FTC) is a worldwide robotics competition to engage students in STEM. More than 20,000 high school students design and build robots for head-to-head competitions and to earn a chance to compete at the FTC World Championship.

According to a release:

FIRST Tech Challenge teams are comprised of about 10 students in grades 7-12 who use a modular robotics platform to conceive, build and compete in a FIRST-designed game. Students are assisted by coaches, mentors and volunteers to develop strategies and build robots based on sound engineering principles.

Award categories include robot performance, community outreach, robot design and other real-world accomplishments. FIRST Tech Challenge Teams can qualify for more than $26 million in college scholarships.

Augustana College

The Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa FTC Kickoff at Augustana will include sessions on robot design strategy and autonomous programming and a coaches’ roundtable discussion. Augustana Professor of Physics Dr. Lee Carkner will give the keynote address, and students can view a planetarium show and take a tour of Augustana STEM facilities with Dr. Nathan Frank, associate professor of physics at Augustana.

“We’re excited to give back to the community by hosting the FIRST robotics competition on
campus for the first time,” Dr. Frank said. “We’re excited to see all these young people and their
excitement for robotics and STEM in general. We look forward to giving them a chance to see a
college that has state-of-art programs in engineering and physics programs, including a
Bachelor of Science in engineering and Bachelor of Arts in physics and engineering.”

The FIRST Tech Challenge Kickoff is Saturday, September 10. For more information, click here.