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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NM BEST Robotics offers students real-world experience

The New Mexico State University College of Engineering's Engineering New Mexico Resource Network is offering middle and high school students the chance to compete in a robotics competition designing and building a custom remote-controlled robot.

This year's competition will focus on space applications for robotics.

"We are excited about the theme for this year's competition," said Ricardo B. Jacquez, dean, College of Engineering. "It is very timely for New Mexico as the state moves forward with development of facilities at Spaceport America."

BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, Technology) Robotics is a national robotics competition that provides student teams the chance to develop a robot and compete against each other in a six week challenge.

Panels of judges from a variety of backgrounds critique each team. In addition to gaining skills in engineering design, students get to challenge their entrepreneurial skills through marketing and oral presentations on BEST Game Day.

"NM BEST is a great opportunity for middle and high school students to gain insight into the real world of engineering," said Tracey O'Neil, program coordinator. "They learn about the engineering process and how to take a product from the design stage all the way to completion."

Students develop a camaraderie with their teammates as they share ideas for innovatively addressing the robotics challenge presented. This experience is similar to what they would face in a professional atmosphere, O'Neil said.

Selected teams receive up to $1,000 to compete in the BEST Regional Competition in Dallas. More than 400 students from across the state and El Paso participated last year.

Schools may register teams beginning on April 1. The competition will be held at the NMSU Las Cruces campus. Kickoff is Saturday, Sept. 8; Mall Day is Saturday, Oct. 13 and Game Day will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20.

There is no cost to schools or students who participate in the NM BEST Robotics challenge. For more information or to register visit http://engr.nmsu.edu/best/index.shtml or contact Tracey O'Neil at 575-646-7852.