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Louisiana Tech, CenturyLink partner for regional robotics event

The third and final Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) of Northeast Louisiana (NELA) competition for the 2016-2017 academic year was held recently at CenturyLink Headquarters in Monroe, with Louisiana Tech University staff, parents, teachers, and community partners watching as students competed for the grand championship and bragging rights as the best robotics team in the region.

The RARC NELA event is an extension of the RARC developed and hosted in Bossier City, Louisiana, for the past six years. The three robotics competition sequences are hosted locally by the Louisiana Tech College of Education’s Science and Technology Education Center (SciTEC), and CenturyLink.

Lindsey Keith-Vincent, director of SciTEC and the Office of Outreach and External Funding at Louisiana Tech, believes that opportunities such as the RARC competitions allow students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) concepts in an innovative and engaging fashion.

“The ability for students to use 21st century collaborative, communication and leadership skills to collectively execute a complex challenge is very difficult to cultivate,” said Keith-Vincent. “However, in this unique landscape and under the leadership of outstanding coaches and teachers, students can flourish and excel in these areas. It is incredibly important that our future leaders obtain and master such skills to compete in a global market.

“The SciTEC team in the College of Education at Louisiana Tech University is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with CenturyLink on this effort.”

“CenturyLink is excited to have hosted this competition once again and we appreciate the opportunity to get our employees involved,” said Bill Bradley, CenturyLink senior vice president, cyber engineering and technology services. “Together, we are developing talent along the I-20 corridor to address the cyber and technology skills gap that continues to grow nationwide.”

Keith-Vincent said the efforts and support of CenturyLink employees as well as Louisiana Tech’s Jaicee Choate, the Cyber Innovation Center’s staff, NICERC’s Jo Ann Marshall, and numerous volunteers, coaches, parents and teams contributed to making this event possible.

RARC NELA competitions are being tentatively scheduled for the 2017-2018 year with dates, locations and times to be posted soon on the Cyber Innovation Center’s National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center webpage and Louisiana Tech’s College of Education Facebook page.

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