Hundreds of thousands of students across the state of Texas now have the opportunity to compete in robotics competitions alongside beloved extracurricular activities like band, football, and debate, through the Texas school activities association, University Interscholastic League (UIL).
Since our corporate headquarters are in Austin, the capital of Texas, it’s no surprise we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to help make this pilot come to fruition!
We’re passionate about inspiring and preparing the next generation of innovators and scientists - today’s students - for the STEM jobs of the future. Supporting world-class student robotics programs like FIRST and WRO is one of the ways we do that. We contribute time, NI technology, and financial support to these organizations because we believe putting theory into practice and giving students the opportunity to “do engineering” with real-world tools, is the best form of STEM preparation.
Our technology powers FIRST programs, so we’re thrilled that it’ll be one of two robotics programs piloted. As a long-time partner to FIRST we’ve seen first-hand the impact robotics programs have on students’ pursuit of degrees and careers in STEM! Of students who participate in FIRST programs, 89% report going to college and they are twice as likely to major in science or engineering fields.
The inaugural UIL Robotics Championships: FIRST Division event will take place in August 2016 during the FIRST Texas Robot Roundup robotics competition and coincide with our annual NIWeek Conference in Austin.
To further explore what this change means for our home state, we’ll be joining a panel of experts representing the technology industry, student robotics, and education during this spring’s SXSWedu conference. We’ll discuss the challenges and benefits of implementing competitive robotics programs state-wide, while addressing how to keep the “robotics as a lettered sport” movement going strong across the US!