FLINT (WJRT) (03/07/18)--Kettering University's recreation center has undergone it's annual makeover, into a full functioning robot arena. It's for week two of the FIRST Robotics Districts.
"It's like a football game, a basketball game all rolled into one. This will be a rocking place for the weekend. We've got 90 robots coming in," said Kettering's FIRST Robotics Community Center Director Bob Nichols.
The District brings in high school teams from across the Midwest to Flint, not to mention a few thousand spectators. Opening ceremonies are set for Friday morning.
"This is our 19th year with FIRST Robotics competitions here at Kettering. It's just growing and growing and growing. In Michigan, we have 515 teams, more than any other state in the country," said Nichols.
Teams from Davison and Goodrich, along with Kettering's Co-Op team were on hand early Wednesday to give their robots a practice run. Students spent the last six weeks preparing for action.
"We're here everyday building. We have to design the robot, program the robot, and test it. It takes a lot of time," said Goodrich High School student Julia Newberry.
The Davison House of Cards team is using this week to encourage more girls to give robotics a try.
"It's not a bad thing that there are a lot of guys in robotics, but that makes a lot of girls feel like they're not smart enough, which is what we're trying to combat," said Davison High School student Sydney Hardesty.
As for Ketterying University, this massive campus event serves as an chance to recruit future students. It's also a time to introduce them to people who can help provide STEM-based internship and career opportunities.
"This is hands on stuff and nerds having fun here. They realize that this is something they want to do for the rest of their life," said Nichols.
Admission to Kettering's FIRST Robotics event is free and open to the public. Competition runs on both Friday and Saturday.