Since 1989, First (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) has created a venue for high school students to experience the world of engineering. This year over 1,300 teams, each consisting of 15 to 25 students and a few engineer mentors, received identical kits of parts, including wheels and track. Using the kit, teams design and build robots that must meet an engineering challenge. Fans attend regional competitions in March, where 40 to 70 teams compete. Winners advance to the FRC Championship April 12-14, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Over 32,000 young people participate, along with more than 18,000 mentors, 3,700 other volunteers, and 2,000 sponsors. Prizes include scholarships from leading colleges and universities totaling nearly $8 million. The kickoff event at Southern New Hampshire University on January 6 was broadcast via NASA satellite to 44 locations nationwide.

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