DOTHAN—A new volunteer organization is aiming to boost interest in science, engineering and technology among Wiregrass area students through robotics competitions that put academics in action.
Troy University is one of several local businesses and organizations sponsoring Wiregrass BEST, a new local chapter of BEST, Inc., a non-profit organization that works to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology through participation in sports-like robotics competitions.
BEST stands for “Boosting, Engineering, Science and Technology.”
Sandy Armstrong, director of the Wiregrass Math and Science Consortium at TROY’s Dothan Campus was on the Wiregrass BEST founding board and currently serves as the organization’s teacher coordinator. She said excitement about the new program is growing among area schools and students. Currently, 11 schools from seven area systems and one private school have signed on to be part of the program for 2010.
“Students here in the Wiregrass will join more than 11,000 students at 750 schools in 13 states who are already involved with BEST,” Armstrong said. “This is a great opportunity for students to learn more about science, engineering and technology through fun competitions that encourage creativity.”
Local students can get involved in BEST through their teachers, Armstrong said. BEST will help students design and build their own robots, which will then be put to the test during regular competitions.
On Oct. 10, local BEST students will be displaying their robotic creations during a special event at Wiregrass Commons Mall. Then on Oct. 23, Wiregrass BEST will hold its first robotics competition at the Dothan Civic Center. Winners there will proceed to the South BEST completion in Auburn in November.
BEST is offered free of charge to local school systems. The program’s sponsors include TROY, the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, Michelin, Globe Motors, Sony, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, Polyengineering, Henry County Schools, Wallace Community College and HDV.
For more information, visit http://wiregrassbestinc.org.