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Subject: [DPRG] Texas BEST
From: Texas Best Robotics tbrobotics at ntmail.tamu.edu
Date: Fri Jul 6 08:19:46 CDT 2001

Hello DPRG,

   My name is Bree, and I am working on a program called Texas BEST.  BEST
stands for Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology, and we plan and
organize a middle and high school robotics competition.  We want to spark an
interest in students by presenting them with the ever expanding
oppertunities and possibilites found in science and technology.  We want to
encourage them and show them that the community supports their efforts.  We
bring exibitors from the corporate world, universities, and community
organizations to the contest for these express purposes.  
    We are now in the beginning organization stage for Texas BEST 2001, and
after exploring your web site, I wanted to contact you with some information
about who we are and present you with the possibility of coming and taking
part in the activities as an exibitor or simply as encouraging and
fascinated spectators.  The event is free to the public and takes place the
weekend before Thanksgiving in Reed arena at Texas A&M University. I have
included some background information on our program, and I look forward to
hearing from you.  Please e-mail or call at 979-845-6263.  

Thank you,


BEST Robotics Competition Program Transmits
Inspiration and Confidence to Young Minds

COLLEGE STATION (June 1, 2000) - Our nation's ability to compete globally
depends on our youth using their minds and imaginations to help reverse the
declining trend of American students' science and math skills.  One of the
best ways Texas A&M University, Texas Instruments (TI), and Accenture have
found to motivate students is through supporting BEST (Boosting Engineering,
Science, and Technology) competitions.  BEST's purpose is to inspire young
people to shed their fears and misconceptions about science and realize that
engineering can be fun.

The program challenges teams of middle and high school students throughout
Texas to build remote-controlled robots from a kit of random parts provided
by competition organizers. The teams have six weeks to build machines that
are capable of competing against each other in a unique, sports-like game.

The concept for this contest was sparked by two TI engineers in 1993.  That
year, TI held the first BEST competition with 14 schools and 221 students.
In 2001, the BEST program has grown to include thousands of students and
more than 400 schools in eleven sites in Texas-including Dallas, San
Antonio, Austin, North Texas, Brazos County, Clear Lake area, Collin County,
Ft. Worth, Denton County, Houston, and West Texas.-and seven other states
(Oklahoma, Kentucky, New Mexico, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, and Alabama).
The top teams from every hub site will compete in the "bowl game" of the
BEST season, called Texas BEST, at Texas A&M University in College Station,
Texas on November 17.  Texas Instruments and Accenture sponsor the Texas
BEST championship event along with Texas A&M.

The Texas BEST competition is a thrilling mix of science fair and sporting
event complete with screaming fans, cheerleaders, banners, and all the
enthusiasm of the Super Bowl or Final Four.  The event gives students a
chance to engage their imaginations and emotions as much as any team sport.

Through BEST, students not only gain insight into the world of engineering
but also the real world of business, as they must be able to meet customer
deadlines, maintain a strict schedule, and stay within the confines of a
stringent budget.  It's not unlike the challenge given to a small team of
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers, scientists, and technicians who
produced the remote-controlled robot Sojourner, sent to play out its "game"
on the surface of Mars.  Though there are differences in the Sojourner and a
BEST robot, the process in which they are created is very similar.  This
process taps the creative and problem-solving talents of students in BEST
and of professionals in Sojourner.

It is this very real experience of BEST that makes the contest worth the
many hours of hard work.  Turn on the news and watch a small, 22-pound
wheeled, remote-controlled robot like Sojourner send back photos and data
>from the surface of a distant planet.  Then experience a BEST contest and
watch one of the small 24-pound wheeled, remote-controlled robots maneuver
around the carpeted surface of a BEST playing field as it transmits
inspiration and confidence back to the young minds who created it.

After seeing both in action, it is difficult to say which robot is
contributing more to the future.

Texas BEST Project Assistant
Texas A&M University
Nicole DeJarnett:  texasbest at tamu.edu
Bree Burgess:  tbrobotics at ntmail.tamu.edu

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