University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations


October 19, 2004
Contact: Joy Washington, USA Public Relations (251) 460-6638

USA’s School of Computer and Information Sciences to Host First Annual Robotics Contest for Middle and High School Students

The University and the USA School of Computer and Information Sciences will serve as the host for the Azalea City Best Robotics Contest to be held from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7 at the Mitchell Center. More than 1,500 people are expected to attend. The robotic presentation segment will be held from 9 a.m.-noon and 2-5 p.m., in the USA Student Center. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

The Azalea City Best will feature student teams from local and regional middle and high schools. It is part of a non-profit volunteer-based organization out of Dallas, which was created with a mission to inspire students to consider careers in technology, science and engineering-based robotics.

“This contest was developed to get students excited about design technology and problem solving,” explained Dr. Mike Doran, professor of computer and information sciences at USA and co-hub director for Azalea City Best. “Besides building robots, students will make a 30-minute presentation, write technical documentation, construct displays and market their robots. There’s a great deal of school spirit displayed during the competition, and we’re excited about the overall day of activities.”

During the recent USA kick off for the Azalea City BEST Robotics competition, the game field was unveiled, material kits were presented to teams and rules and terms explained. Students from 19 schools will compete, while parents, teachers and students cheer on their favorite teams.

For the first time, USA will serve as a hub-site along with numerous universities from the region and the United States. Some of the events scheduled will include a table display set-up for the competing robots, presentations, campus tours, robotics competition, pizza party and awards ceremony.

USA faculty from the School of CIS, the College of Engineering, the Mitchell College of Business, the College of Education and departments of science, communication, and English will judge the competition.

“Faculty members attended the kick off to learn about the game in order to serve as judges for the upcoming competition,” said Doran.

Michael Ward, hub technical advisor and instructor of computer science; Robin Fenton, hub co-director and middle school science teacher at Corpus Christi Catholic School; CIS students and alumni have been volunteering many hours of their time to help prepare for the big game day, according to Doran.

“We have a great deal of support from faculty, students and alumni,” he said. “Words can’t express the credit everyone deserves for their efforts, especially Robin Fenton and Mike Ward. They have organized and planned this entire competition and their energy and dedication has made it a reality.”

For more information contact Dr. Michael Doran at 460-6390.
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