Students gather at South's BEST Robotics Competition - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Students gather at South's BEST Robotics Competition

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AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

Robots are taking over Auburn University's campus this weekend at the annual South's BEST Robotics Competition.

Fifty-seven teams have arrived from all over the east coast to go head-to-head and construct a robot that can transport goods on a space elevator tower.

"It's really phenomenal to see middle and high school students side by side, very competitive doing some of the most professional work," explains Dr. George Blanks, Director of K12 Engineering Outreach.

BEST, which stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology, is a non-profit organization headquartered at AU.

Their mission is to encourage students to pursue science, engineering and mathematics careers through participation in events like the robotics competition.

Auburn University, with the help of Blanks, brought the first BEST program to the south and played a major role developing the 17 other programs in thoughout the east.

"This is what industry wants, the kind of kids that know how to problem solve, troubleshoot, use technology and understand how to apply technology," Blanks said. "That's the future workforce."

One unique aspect of this program is its ability to incorporate different areas of study.

"Students that are for example very interested in language arts or giving speeches, all of them can come together collectively as a team to accomplish their task," explains Mary Lou Ewald, Director of Outreach for AU's College of Engineering and Mathematics.

The competition will be held all weekend in the Auburn Arena and is free to the public.

"Energy in the AU Arena will parallel any AU basketball game," says Blanks.

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