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SciTEC, CenturyLink partner for regional robotics event

Faculty from Louisiana Tech University and CenturyLink employees recently welcomed students from Louisiana and Arkansas for the inaugural Northeast Louisiana Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) hosted at CenturyLink headquarters in Monroe.

Students from Louisiana and Arkansas put their robots through the motions during the inaugural Northeast Louisiana Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit.

Students from Louisiana and Arkansas put their robots through the motions during the inaugural Northeast Louisiana Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit.

The event, which was developed as an extension of the Bossier RARC competition developed and hosted by the Cyber Innovation Center’s NICERC division, featured over 20 teams that competed in elementary, middle and high school categories. The inaugural northeast Louisiana competition was hosted by the Louisiana Tech College of Education’s Science and Technology Education Center (SciTEC) and CenturyLink.

“The theme for the 2016-2017 RARC competitions is ‘Exploring the Wonders of the World,’” said JoAnn Marshall of NICERC. “The elementary and middle school teams programmed their robots to crisscross a competition mat that resembles a map of the world and accomplish tasks related to three specific Wonders of the World. Meanwhile, the high school teams programmed and designed their robots to survey one of the many uninhabited land masses on Earth and collect resources that will be necessary for future explorations.”

“Opportunities like the Northeast Louisiana RARC competition not only allow students to showcase and refine essential STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills, but more importantly, they foster the use of 21st century skills such as collaboration, perseverance and critical thinking,” said Dr. Don Schillinger, dean of the College of Education at Louisiana Tech.

Lindsey Keith-Vincent, director of SciTEC and the Office of Outreach and External Funding at Louisiana Tech said the university is thrilled that SciTEC, NICERC and CenturyLink have the opportunity to support and connect with such talented students and community partners through this effort.  “We are hopeful that these talented young people competing will one day be on Louisiana Tech’s campus preparing for STEM related careers in our region at places including CenturyLink.”

“This competition shows the impact the technology industry has had along the I-20 corridor and Northeast Louisiana. CenturyLink values our community partners and recognizes the importance of investing in STEM education,” Bill Bradley, senior vice president of cyber engineering & technology services for CenturyLink said.

Keith-Vincent said the efforts and support of CenturyLink’s Bill Bradley, Alex Bohl, Kristy LaCroix; Louisiana Tech’s Jaicee Choate; NICERC’s Jo Ann Marshall, and numerous volunteers, coaches, parents and teams contributed to making this event possible. “We also thank BASH Booth’s Sarah Jeffords, Collin Bailey from Louisiana Tech University Admissions and Lisa Dick with AXI Education Solutions for attending and making Saturday a success,” she said.

Additional RARC competitions are being scheduled for the winter and spring with dates, locations and times to be posted soon on the NICERC webpage and Louisiana Tech University’s College of Education Facebook site.

To learn more about NELA RARC and how to participate in future competitions, please contact NELA RARC Competition Coordinator, Jaicee Choate at (318) 257-2866 or jchoate@latech.edu, or Lindsey Keith-Vincent at lbkv@latech.edu.