The Office of Research was proud to sponsor the Boosting Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) UIL Robotics State Championship December 5-7, 2019 at the Comerica Center in Frisco, TX. Bringing science, technology, engineering, and math to middle and high school students is an overarching goal for BEST and a unique outreach opportunity for The University of Texas at Dallas.  

In the past, we have offered opportunities for BEST Robotics participants to visit the UTD campus, instead this year we brought UT Dallas to Frisco. 

The Office of Research hosted a Hot Cocoa and Cookies event on Thursday as teams were arriving in Frisco and unloading their marketing booths and robots. 

Students preparing cups of hot cocoa. (UT Dallas/Jasmine Clark)
Students gathering around the hot cocoa stations. (UT Dallas/Jasmine Clark)

During the BRIGHT Ideas Symposium on Friday, faculty led “TED Talk” style seminars and various departments hosted information booths for the students. 

Rod Wetterskog, Assistant Dean, Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science offered a seminar titled, “So you think you want to be an engineer? How do you pick the BEST university for you?” (UT Dallas/Alyssa Galganov)
Dr. Xtine Burrough and students from her lab, LabSynthE, hosted a booth showcasing interactive artworks that use technology in surprising ways to draw people together. (UT Dallas/Alyssa Galganov)

During our lunch and learn event, Your BEST Energy Powers BRIGHT Ideas, panelists spoke to 250 students, coaches, and mentors about the importance of alternative energy and the impact of disaster recovery. 

The lunch and learn panel featured Dr. Mario Rotea, Site Director of WindSTAR, Department Head of Mechanical Engineering at UTD; Michael Stephens, Technical Support Manager from Oncor; Dan Henry, chief meteorologist for FOX 4 news; and Lynn Mortensen, STEM Advocate and former Vice President of Engineering at Raytheon Company. (UT Dallas/Alyssa Galganov)
Teams create a marketing booth and presentation about their robot and present the information to a team of judges. (UT Dallas/Alyssa Galganov)

Teams compete on Saturday in wild card matches, semi-final and final matches, facing tough opponents from across Texas, New Mexico and Arkansas.

Teams, parents, and the community prepare to watch the competition. (UT Dallas/R. Gabe Cavazos)
Waiting for the finals to begin at the Comerica Center in Frisco, TX. (UT Dallas/R. Gabe Cavazos)
Students from Smithson Valley Middle School competing. (UT Dallas/R. Gabe Cavazos)
Discussion with judges before a match. (UT Dallas/R. Gabe Cavazos)
Per round, each team sent two participants to drive and set materials during the match. (UT Dallas/R. Gabe Cavazos)
Students from R4 Robotics Community Team in New Mexico working on their robot between rounds of competition. (UT Dallas/R. Gabe Cavazos)
The United Engineering & Technology Magnet High School in the heat of battle. (UT Dallas/R. Gabe Cavazos)
A match featuring Ereckson Middle School from Allen, TX about to end. (UT Dallas/R. Gabe Cavazos)
Robots worked to help repair the electrical grid after a simulated natural disaster strikes. (UT Dallas/R. Gabe Cavazos)
Hutto High School from Hutto, TX was awarded first place in the UIL Group 2 State Championship for Large Schools division. (UT Dallas/R. Gabe Cavazos)