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Spring Arbor University to Host Robotics Competition

Outside entrance of the McDonald Athletic Center at Spring Arbor University

Hundreds of Michigan high school students pioneering the next generation of robotics will visit Spring Arbor University (SAU) on March 5-7 to compete in Jackson County’s second annual FIRST in Michigan District Robotics Competition.

The Star Wars-themed competition is sponsored by Consumers Energy and is the first event of its kind for SAU. The FIRST robotics competition is a three-day event that is free to the public and located in the McDonald Athletic Center at SAU.

“SAU is excited to partner with FIRST Robotics and Consumers Energy to bring high schoolers from across the state to this event. We see this as an excellent opportunity to help promote robotics and STEM programs,” says Ron Delap, Dean of the School of Engineering.

“These students stand out from their peers in our state and across the nation. FIRST is not only a great way to help develop the next generation of engineers and scientists, but also marketers, tool and dye makers, coders – all types of high-wage careers that will continue to be in high demand,” said Roger Curtis, Consumers Energy’s vice president for public affairs.

“We’re thrilled to sponsor this competition in our hometown and join forces with Spring Arbor University. This is a launching pad for many of these students to compete at the state championship next month in Saginaw.”

Forty high school robotics teams from Michigan will compete, with teams ranging from five to 35 people. Teams will display their skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as they contend for a variety of awards.

Hosting the 2020 FIRST Robotics competition is a strategic decision for SAU as it connects directly with the strategic priority to grow STEM programming. Students with STEM experience are expected to be in high demand by Consumers Energy and other Michigan companies that are innovating and expanding when they enter the workforce.

Eight local teams participating in the Jackson District competition previously competed at the 2019 FIRST world competition in Detroit — the Jacktown Vectors (Jackson County ISD), FullMetal-Jackets (Concord), The Greenhills Lawnmowers (Ann Arbor), Lightning Robotics (Canton), The H.E.R.O.E.S (Hillsdale), Tractor Technicians (Mason), the Panther Powered Robotics (Stockbridge) and the Bedford Express (Temperance).

Learn more about the Jackson weekend competition and FIRST in Michigan at  http://firstinmichigan.us/FRC/jackson/.