May 27, 2019  

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USM Ready to Host Robotics State Championship March 1-2

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More than 700 young innovators from across the state will converge at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) March 1-2 for the annual Mississippi VEX Robotics State Championship.

The competition will showcase elementary, middle and high school students from approximately 50 Mississippi schools in an educational competitive robotics program to be held at USM’s Payne Center on the Hattiesburg campus.

“These competitors have been building, programming and driving their robots at local and regional competitions throughout Mississippi to advance to this state championship, and they are ready to show off their engineering and programming knowledge,” said Jennifer Richardson, Event Coordinator for the state championship and District Robotics Coordinator for Madison County Schools.

Richardson notes the competition also focuses on teamwork, communication, and keeping students engaged in hands-on technology challenges that build their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

This marks the second year that USM will serve as host site for the state championship. The University’s Payne Center provides VEX Robotics the space necessary to accommodate such a large event while also exposing the young students and their parents to everything USM has to offer.

“VEX is one of the fastest growing robotics competitions in the country and USM is proud to nurture these young Mississippi STEM students in at the largest robotics event in the state” said Steven Moser, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

There are three different levels in VEX Robotics. On Friday’s opening day, VRC teams from middle schools and high school will showcase their entries. On Saturday, the VEX IQ teams from the elementary and middle schools will be on display. Each group is responsible for designing, building, programming and driving their robot to meet the requirements of the current year’s challenge.

Winning teams from the state championship will advance to the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championship in April in Louisville, Ky., where more than 1,400 of the best VEX competitions teams from around the globe will compete.

Richardson said that 11 VEX IQ teams and five VRC teams will advance to the world championship.