High school robotics teams compete at Mount St. Mary’s University for top honors and advancement


— Mount St. Mary’s University and STEMaction, Inc. will host 48 robotics teams and more than 500 middle and high school students competing in the 2017 Maryland FIRST® Tech Challenge Championship. The public is welcome to cheer the competitors at one of the region’s top hands-on STEM activities. The event takes place on Sunday, Feb. 12, in Mount St. Mary’s Knott Arena at 16300 Old Emmitsburg Road, Emmitsburg, MD. Opening ceremonies are at 10:30am and the competition continues through the Final Rounds, which are scheduled for 5:00pm. Admission is free; press and media are welcome.

“We are extremely excited to host the FIRST Tech Challenge Maryland Championship,” said Tim Trainor, Ph.D., interim president of Mount St. Mary’s University. “Science, technology, engineering and math competencies are key components of what will help today’s students lead our global economy in the future. Events such as this encourage students to experiment with concepts learned in the classroom, which aligns perfectly with the Mount’s focus on discovery-based learning.”

In this season’s FIRST Tech Challenge “Velocity Vortex™”, two-robot alliances work to shoot particles into goals, claim infrared beacons, and raise large cap balls at the end of each 2-1/2 minute game. A total of 107 teams from Maryland, Washington, DC and beyond went through six Qualifying Tournaments this season to determine which would attend the Maryland Championship. Top teams will advance to the East Super Regional in Pennsylvania in March and from there to the FIRST Championships in St. Louis in April.

FIRST inspires students to become technology and engineering innovators of tomorrow. The FIRST Tech Challenge program gives teams of up to 15 middle or high-school students a hands-on experience designing, building, programming and driving robots. The program fosters a culture of “Gracious Professionalism™” that encourages teamwork and cooperation as much as competition. The FIRST Tech Challenge program is sponsored nationwide by Rockwell Collins, Qualcomm and PTC. Maryland program sponsors include Rockwell Collins, Bechtel, Best Buy, Northrop Grumman, and the Universities Space Research Association. Maryland-based non-profit STEMaction, Inc. operates the FIRST Tech Challenge program in Maryland and Washington, DC.


STEMaction ignites and nurtures a lifelong passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through events and activities for youth and their families. We support Maryland FIRST’s progression of K-12 programs as well as other great STEM activities. STEMaction is the official Affiliate Partner for the Maryland FIRST Tech Challenge and Maryland FIRST LEGO League Junior programs. STEMaction is Founding Partner for the Maryland STEM Festival and the Howard County STEM Festival. Our partnership with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) led to the opening of a USRA STEMaction Center in Columbia, MD. Learn more at www.stemaction.org.


Mount St. Mary’s University a private, liberal arts, Catholic university in historic Emmitsburg, Md. with a satellite campus in Frederick, Maryland’s second largest city. The university offers more than 40 majors, minors, concentrations and special programs for its 1,600 traditional undergraduate students, and 17 adult undergraduate and graduate level programs. Of them, eight are featured in the Mount’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics for undergraduates, as well as a biotechnology and management program offered for graduate students. To learn more please visit msmary.edu/SNSM.


Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With major corporate support and more than $50 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for high-school students, FIRST® Tech Challenge for middle and high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® Leag