BEST stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology, and was originated in 1993 by two Texas Instruments engineers. There are 51 hubs located across the United States, operating in three regions.
Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics was established by the college in 2012 to offer opportunities for students in grades 5 – 12 to become competent and confident in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) principles. In its inaugural year, ten teams and approximately 250 students participated.
The BEST competition runs for six weeks in the fall, and includes three events. On September 21, a kick off day will be held at Northeast Alabama Community College where the students will learn about their challenge, receive the materials they may use with which to build their robot, and attend training sessions intended to prepare them for the challenge. On October 24, teams will gather at the Northeast Alabama Agri-Business Center for practice day. This event, co-located with the Made in DeKalb Expo, provides teams with an opportunity to test out their robot on the actual playing field. And on November 2, teams will put their designs to the test by competing against other teams and the clock to perform specific tasks.
Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics serves DeKalb, Jackson and Marshall Counties. The teams already registered for this year’s competition include: DeKalb County Technology Center, Fort Payne High School, Fyffe High School, Ider High School, Marshall Technical School, Pisgah High School, Brindlee Mountain Middle School, and Woodville High School. Other schools are expected to register before the September 6 deadline.
The competition encompasses more than robot performance. Teams are judged on oral presentation, educational display, spirit, sportsmanship, interview skills, engineering notebook, and robot performance. The top teams will advance to the regional competition in Auburn.
Northeast Alabama Community College serves as the lead agency for the hub, but it takes a community-wide effort to put on a competition of this magnitude. Other partner agencies include DeKalb County Economic Development Authority, Jackson County Economic Development Authority, Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Impact Learning Center, Community Action Agency of Northeast Alabama, and Alabama Technology Network.
All required materials and supplies are provided to participating schools by Northeast Alabama BEST, which also provides access to technical support and mentoring to BEST Teams. TVA has been a major sponsor of the initiative since its inception.
“TVA is pleased to be involved in this important initiative to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiatives in this region,” stated Jason Harper, of TVA.
“The Best Robotics program is a great asset in getting students at a young age interested in STEM jobs and careers,” stated Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. “We are very appreciative of TVA in supporting this program. This donation will help students find great career pathways that lead to jobs of the future.”
For more information about BEST Robotics, contact Nicole Carroll at college extension 2254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information may also be found at the Northeast Alabama BEST Robotics website, located at www.northeastalabamabest.org. For information about Northeast, see the college’s web page at www.nacc.edu or download the college’s free App at the Apple App Store or by going to www.naccmobile.com.