NOVA Gears Up for States19 Robotics Championship

NOVA and robotics share many things in common; excellence, engagement, excitement, and equipping students for tech careers. The Virginia VEX Robotics State Championship is recognized as the best in the nation and has been run by NOVA SySTEMic since 2014.

This year, the State Championship (States19) will be held on March 1 and 2 at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, VA. About 140 Commonwealth teams will compete for a chance to represent Virginia at the VEX Robotics World Championship (Worlds) in late April in Louisville, KY. Of the teams at States19, over 80% are from Northern Virginia and 27 teams will earn a spot at Worlds through a performance or judged award.

The two-day tournament is comprised of students playing the plastic platform VEX IQ challenge, Next Level (elementary and middle school) and the more advanced metal platform VEX Robotics Competition, Turning Point (middle and high school). Like any well-supported athletic event, States is known for its passion and intensity as students hone their teamwork and technical skills in competition. It’s a rigorous, fun and larger-than-life showcase of STEM in action.

It takes more than 100 volunteers (as referees, judges and general volunteers) to make this event a success. Every year student and adult volunteers are recruited from institutions and companies to support these student’s achievements.

As NOVA’s STEM Outreach program, NOVA SySTEMic supports competitive robotics with trailer and equipment rentals, free training for mentors and volunteers and event partner training. Competitive robotics develops critical STEM skills and students learn to collaborate as a team while using creativity and critical thinking to problem solve.

NOVA has cutting-edge and exciting degree programs that the hands-on experience of robotics leads into, particularly in Emerging Technologies. Students who participate in robotics are well positioned to pursue degrees in Engineering Technology (utilizing a state-of-the-art Fab Lab at the Manassas Campus), Data Center Operations and Cloud Computing.

Recognizing the inspirational and foundational nature of robotics in STEM education and careers, States19 is supported by Micron, the Northrup Grumman Foundation, and the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation. Representatives will be speaking at the event, as well as NOVA president Dr. Scott Ralls (NOVA SySTEMic’s Partner of the Year) and NOVA IET Provost Dr. Chad Knights.

States is not just for the participants – it draws a large audience that plays its part in encouraging students during competition. The event is free of charge, so join in and support the future tech workforce!

For more information about States19 contact STEM Education Coordinator and Robotics Specialist Ryan Osweiler.

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