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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Jan. 9: FIRST® Robotics Competition Kickoff

Between 200 and 250 high school students to participate in event, to be held in the Centennial Student Union ballroom.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 1-7-2016

Mankato, Minn. – Between 200 and 250 high school students on 21 robotics teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin will gather from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9 in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom at Minnesota State University, Mankato to receive “Kickoff Kits” consisting of donated items and components worth tens of thousands of dollars – and limited instructions – that the student teams will use to build robots over a six-week period.

Prior to receiving their “Kickoff Kits,” the students will watch a 40-minute live video that explains the competition rules.

Saturday’s event marks the start of the high school robotics season in Minnesota and nationally, and it is one of eight FIRST® Robotics Competition Kickoff events that will be held Saturday throughout the state (other locations listed here).

After the kickoff event, students will work with adult mentors to design, build, program and test robots that meet the season’s engineering challenge, hoping to move on to regional, state or national competition.

Teams will participate later this winter in FIRST® regional competitions in Duluth, Minn., and Minneapolis that will measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration and the determination of students.

FIRST® Robotics Competition Kickoff event has been held at Minnesota State Mankato each year since 2011, making this the fifth year the event has been held on campus.

In addition, since 2011, the Minnesota State High School League has partnered with FIRST® in supporting robotics competitions, with teams qualifying for Minnesota state high school championships at FIRST® regional competitions. The 2016 Minnesota State High School Robotics Championship will be held May 21, 2016.

Media are invited to attend Saturday’s event at Minnesota State Mankato and speak with student participants who agree to discuss the upcoming robotics season and their projects. For more information about the event, please contact Xuanhui Wu, assistant professor in Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Technology, by phone at 978-987-9936 or by email at

Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology and the college’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Technology are sponsoring the FIRST® Robotics Competition Kickoff held at Minnesota State Mankato. Marilyn Wells, the University’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, will welcome participants to the event along with Brian Martensen, dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to inspire kids to become interested in science, according to Kamen’s online bio posted on

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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