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March 8, 2005
CONTACT: Carol Anderson
734.487.4400
carol.anderson@emich.edu

EMUís Convocation Center gears up for hundreds of FIRST robotics competitors

YPSILANTIThe excitement of devoted fans will rock the rafters of Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center March 11-12. That’s when hundreds of Michigan high school students and their mechanical, monster-size robots will come rolling into town for the Great Lakes Regional FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.

Some 58 student teams, sponsored and assisted by area companies and volunteers, design, assemble and test robots capable of performing a specific task in competition with other teams.

“This is a high energy event,” said Cheryl Swanson, director of EMU’s Convocation Center. “It’s traditionally the site of the largest FIRST (regional) competition and one of the largest, multi-day events at the Convocation Center.”

The competition is a high-tech, spectator sporting event with throngs of cheering supporters shouting encouragement from the sidelines. EMU has been the site of the competition since 1998.

Local teams include Ypsilanti High School, Willow Run High School, Huron High School and Pioneer High School, as well as Washtenaw Community College and Washtenaw Technical Middle College.

The student teams have set their sights on qualifying for the national competition at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, April 21-23.  And along the way, they plan to have fun and possibly win an award. Teams are rewarded for excellence in design, team spirit, professionalism and maturity, and the ability to overcome obstacles.

The teams will arrive at EMU Thursday, March 10, for practice. Competition begins Friday, March 11, with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m. and concludes with an awards ceremony at 4:30 p.m.  The excitement continues Saturday, March 12, at 9 a.m., and concludes with an awards ceremony at 3 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. For information, call the Convocation Center, 734.487.5386.

FIRST was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Human Transporter.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


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