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FIRST-RGV and Partners Announce UIL Robotics Program




Pharr, Texas - FIRST-RGV, the City of Pharr and its partners are proud to announce that the University Interscholastic League (UIL) has selected FIRST programs to be one of its robotics partners for UIL's inaugural robotics pilot program, which begins during the 2015-2016 school year.


FIRST-RGV and its valley partners have been gearing up for competitive robotics, hosting a series of workshops and events to introduce youth across the Rio Grande Valley to competitive robotics.  City of Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez and City of Pharr Innovation and Technology Director/FIRST-RGV Director Jason Arms, along with the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UT-RGV) Engineering Department, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) ISD, and Harlingen ISD, have been instrumental in spearheading the robotics movement in the Rio Grande Valley. Pharr has led the way by hosting events for Rio Grande Valley students to spark their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers through robotics.


Upon receiving news of UIL's announcement, Ray Almgren, Chair of FIRST in Texas and Vice President of Marketing for National Instruments stated, "UIL's recognition of robotics is a turning point for the widespread accessibility and adoption of student robotics programs across the state and nationwide." Locally, the sentiment was echoed by FIRST-RGV partners. "Robotics has real-world applications, and technological solutions are paving the way toward advances in many different fields," said Pharr Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez. "I am glad that UIL has recognized the importance of supporting, fostering, and promoting STEM careers by making them interesting, exciting, and most of all, available, such as through robotics competition," he continued.


Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) ISD Deputy Superintendent Dr. Narciso Garcia agreed. "This is a game changer for our PSJA community!" he stated. "Our students are being afforded the opportunity to take part and gain knowledge in Robotics a STEM area which is the wave of the future for any business and industry," continued Garcia. Advanced Academics Director Marisela Zepeda added, "The more opportunities students have to exercise their talents through FIRST and now through UIL, the greater their knowledge and skills will become."


All UIL high schools will have access to the UIL robotics pilot program. The UIL Robotics Championships: UIL Robotics Championships: FIRST Division will take place at the Austin Convention Center on July 28 -30, 2016.

FIRST-RGV is looking for mentors, volunteers and corporate support to make sure that all students in Pharr and the Rio Grande Valley have this special opportunity. To get involved, please contact the Pharr Innovation Center at 956.402.4900 or email Veronica Baca, FIRST-RGV Senior Mentor at  - FIRST-RGV is a member of FIRST in Texas - Alamo Region.