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For Immediate Release
December 06, 2018

Purdue Fort Wayne Holds 19th FIRST® LEGO® League Robotic Championship

Key Info

  • Purdue Fort Wayne FIRST LEGO League Robotic Championship
  • Saturday, December 8
  • Noon–3:45 p.m.
  • Purdue Fort Wayne Athletics Fieldhouse

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Purdue University Fort Wayne will host the 19th Indiana FIRST® LEGO® League Robotic Championship on Saturday, December 8, from noon to 3:45 p.m. in the Athletics Center Fieldhouse.

This annual event is one of the largest robotic competitions in the state for children ages 9–14. This year, 296 Indiana teams registered, with 276 of them competing at 15 qualifiers in November. There are 48 teams that advanced to Purdue Fort Wayne’s Northern Championship Tournament. Another 24 teams advanced to the Southern Championship at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. One team from each tournament will be crowned champion and advance to the World Festival in Detroit in April. Four other teams will be invited to several other national invitational tournaments around the country.

“Our collaboration with many dedicated partners around the state to maintain the tournament system and the hard work of so many Purdue Fort Wayne staff from multiple offices, as well as the faculty and community volunteers, is the key to making this program successful,” says Carol Dostal, director of outreach programs in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science (ETCS).

Many other awards will also be earned by teams including the selection of two teams as the Indiana Global Innovation nominees to the national organization. This award is based on the teams’ innovative solutions to this year’s theme, called Into Orbit, which challenges teams to solve problems associated with long-duration space travel. The Global Innovation Award national prize is $20,000 from X Prize, with $5,000 prizes for two other finalist teams. This special, separate competition encourages students to become inventors and entrepreneurs by consulting with experts about their project designs and creating a prototype or draft design that could be submitted for a copyright or trademark. Several years ago Indiana’s nominee team from Terre Haute won the top award, so our Indiana teams take this special competition seriously.

ETCS coordinates the championship and leads the state FIRST LEGO League program as the Indiana FIRST LEGO League Affiliate Partner. The tournament is organized by the ETCS Outreach office as part of the college’s ongoing commitment to encourage youth to build their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills and consider related careers.

“There will also be 65 Purdue Fort Wayne students volunteering at the tournament throughout the day; almost all from the College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science,” says Manoochehr Zoghi, dean of ETCS. “The tournament demonstrates the huge capacity of the university and community volunteers to work together in support of this STEM endeavor.”

The fieldhouse at Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Athletics Center will come alive with the energy of the teams during the Robot games. The music plays while the emcee announces each team and, just like in a sporting event, the referees oversee and score the matches. The entire robot action is projected on Markeys’ digital screens for the audience. Teams show off their team spirit with catchy names, banners, and shirts as they cheer on teammates hoping to earn their best robot score and garner the prized robot game award. The event concludes with the Brickworld pizza and dance party and the crowning of the 2018 champion.

For those who are unable to attend the event, games will be live-streamed on the ETCS Outreach website.

For additional information, contact Nicole Hahn at 260-481-4106 (office), 260-760-7409 (cell), or