National Robotics Competition Arrives in Washington March 30

WASHINGTON -- Media representatives are invited to attend an
international student robotics competition sponsored by NASA and
other organizations Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31. The event,
which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Walter E.
Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW, in Washington.

The competition, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and
Technology, or FIRST, provides access to robotics programs to
encourage young people to investigate careers in the sciences and
engineering, and possibly become the nation's next generation of
technical leaders.

John Grunsfeld, an astrophysicist who flew five times on the space
shuttle and now serves as NASA's associate administrator for the
Science Mission Directorate, will speak during the event's opening
ceremony starting at 8:45 a.m. Friday, March 30. Friday's events run
until 6:30 p.m. and Saturday's from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

NASA is the largest sponsor of the national FIRST program, supporting
five regional competition events and more than 280 teams. This
weekend's competition will include participants from 63 high school
teams from Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and eight
other states.

This year, 45 regional competitions occur across the country, along
with four international competitions. NASA engineers and scientists
participate with many of the teams as technical participants and
mentors to the students. The FIRST Championship competition will be
held April 27-29 in St. Louis.

The program was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire an
appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools
and communities.

For information on the local teams and their activities, visit:


For more information about NASA's education programs, visit:



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