VEX Robotics students to invade Kettering University, Flint

FLINT–Hundreds of high school students and their families will descend on Kettering University and the city of Flint this weekend for the Michigan VEX Robotics Competition High School State Championship.

Teams begin setting up Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Connie and Jim John Recreation Center at Kettering. The competition officially kicks off with opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 26. An awards ceremony will be at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Said Kim Shumaker, Ketgtering Robotics Outreach and Robotics Center director: “Students gain valuable engineering, teamwork, communication, collaboration, project management and critical thinking skills participating in this program, setting them up for success at Kettering and in the workforce.”

This is the second year Kettering has hosted the VEX State Championship. This year’s title sponsor if the electric and gas utility Consumers Energy.

Said Consumers Robotics Outreach Lead Megan Hayward: “These students display incredible creativity and resiliency throughout the season … We are investing in these students because these students are invested in our future. Our clean energy transition will be realized with this STEM talent, who will become our scientists, line workers, plant operators, engineers and more.”

About 400 students from 80 teams will participate in this year’s competition, called Spin Up. In each match during the event, four teams form two alliances with the robots they designed and built. Each match consists of a 15-second autonomous period followed by a 1-minute, 45-second driver-controlled period. During the match, robots must move discs to their respective goal areas for points and spin rollers to their alliance colors. The alliance with the most points at the end of the match wins.

The top 20 to 30 teams will advance to the VEX Robotics World Championship in Dallas.

Kettering organizes VEX competitions in partnership with the non-profit Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, an educational foundation with a mission to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Dan Mantz, a 1991 Kettering alumnus and CEO of the REC Foundation, will attend Sunday’s event.

“Our two mission statements are perfectly aligned: We both aim to prepare our students for careers in technology and business,” Mantz said. “The REC Foundation and Kettering are preparing our students for the workforce by teaching technology and communication, interpersonal, leadership, problem-solving, critical-thinking and teamwork skills needed to excel in today’s tech-driven workforce.”

The university has hosted VEX camps and workshops since 2015. Scholarships are also available for students who are active competitors or mentors of VEX or other competitive robotics organizations. Students can earn up to $5,000 yearly (up to $25,000 over five years) in renewable scholarships.

“We see the value of providing the collegiate experience to students as early as possible and showing them transformative campuses, like Kettering University, that are accessible to them,” Mantz said. “Many of the REC Foundation alumni, who have gone on to attend Kettering, have shared that they felt surrounded by like-minded people in a fast-paced environment that mirrored their experience on robotics teams.”

Founded in 1919, Kettering offers a unique blend of year-around education that alternates terms on campus and in co-op jobs related to each student’s major. It offers engineering, mathematics, business and science programs. More at

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