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Houston Area VEX Robotics Team Wins NSBE Competition & Attends VEX Worlds 2015

Local Team Finishes the Robotics Season Strong By Attending Two Premiere Events in Anaheim, CA and Louisville, KY

Team 4288Z gather at the NSBE Conference for the VEX Robotics Competition where they received the Excellence Award and qualified for VEX Worlds.

GREENVILLE, TX – May 28, 2015 – The Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy and the Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men joined forces this season to compete in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) VEX Competition at the organization’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California, in March and the team, 4288Z, won the highly coveted Excellence Award which also qualified the team to attend VEX Worlds in Louisville, Kentucky, in April.

“The REC Foundation’s partnership with the National Society of Black Engineers provides a great entry point for schools like ours, by enabling our students to meet mentors and former VEX participants at NSBE College Chapters at the University of Houston, Rice University, and Texas A &M,” said Astra Zeno, the engineering and computer science teacher at the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy and also a team coach. “Our students are more confident, ask more questions, and became more comfortable with robotics in general after meeting with NSBE college mentors and attending the competitions in Anaheim and Louisville. It’s been amazing to see them find their voice and really embrace all that the robotics experience offers.”

The REC Foundation established a partnership with NSBE last spring to provide robotics team grants to NSBE chapters around the country and engage more students of color in robotics engineering through the VEX Robotics Competition. In addition, NSBE hosted a VEX Robotics Competition at their annual conference which took place in Anaheim in March. The winning team 4288Z, comprised of students from the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy and the Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men, consisted of four boys and five girls, namely: Marcellus Jordan III, Steven Jackson, Luis Torres, Jarmel Brown, Starr Morris, Janet Santacruz, Alyssa Dorelus, Brittany McRae Alvarado and Gloria McRae Alvarado.

The students combined teams last December and took the best elements of each of their robots to engineer a new robot for the competition. Together they effectively broke down the engineering design process to design, build, program and compete with a robot of their own making.

“Having our boys compete alongside the girls in NSBE’s inaugural VEX Robotics championship was monumental for the development of our robotics program.  Having the girls as equal partners lifted our boys to a much higher level of performance.  It was a life-changing experience and we were proud to represent NSBE at the VEX Robotics World Championship,” said Vince Hamilton, Robotics Coach at the Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy.”

The team returned from VEX Worlds with a new appreciation for robotics and have already begun preparing for the new season. The 2015-16 season is now open with VEX IQ Challenge Bank Shot and VEX Robotics Competition Nothing But Net. The new games were announced at VEX Worlds in Louisville, Kentucky on April 17, 2015. For more information about the REC Foundation and the scholarship program, please visit www.RoboticsEducation.org.

About the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation

The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the U.S. and internationally. The REC Foundation develops partnerships with K-12 education, higher education, government, industry, and the non-profit community to achieve this work.

About the National Society of Black Engineers

Founded in 1975, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States. With more than 31,000 members and more than 300 chapters in the U.S. and abroad, NSBE supports and promotes the aspirations of collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. NSBE’s mission is “to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professional and positively impact the community.” For more information, visit www.nsbe.org.