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Students demonstrate robots at math, computer science day

April 13, 2013 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated April 12, 2013 at 11:13 p.m.

Calhoun High School students show their peers how a robot they built throws Frisbees during Tuesday's University of Houston-Victoria/Victoria College Math and Computer Science Awareness Day.

Students from Calhoun High School in Port Lavaca had a rare opportunity Tuesday to show off their hard work creating a robot that throws Frisbees.

The Calhoun students were some of more than 150 area students from 11 high schools who participated in the University of Houston-Victoria/Victoria College Math and Computer Science Awareness Day.

The event coincided with April's national Math Awareness Month and Robotics Awareness Month. This year's theme is "Mathematics of Sustainability."

It was made possible by a grant from Alcoa Foundation.

The event centered on written math and computer science tests, which were scored individually and as a team.

The top-scoring teams in the math and computer science tests received trophies and certificates. Top-scoring individuals received a laptop, iPad or electrical engineering kit. Each person on a winning game show team won a robotics kit.

It also included two team game show competitions, robot demonstrations, interaction with area professionals and the opportunity for students to meet peers with similar interests.

"We enjoy participating in this event because our students don't get to interact with others who enjoy building robots like they do," said Calhoun High School teacher Jeff Williams. "They had fun showing off their hard work."

Ten area high school students meet each week with Alireza Tavakkoli, a UHV assistant professor and director of the university's digital gaming and simulation program, to learn about robotics and computer programming.

"This is all about the students and for the students," Tavakkoli said. "This year, we reached our maximum capacity of attendees for the event. We hope we can grow it in the future so more students can participate."

Other organizations participating in the exposition included the Victoria school district robotics and engineering programs, Caterpillar, CivilCorp, UHV School of Nursing and Victoria College business and computer programs.

"It's important to combine interests and given abilities to really succeed and be happy in a career," said Kevin Riggs, engineering manager at Alcoa Point Comfort Operations. "Students need to find what they like and what they want to work on every day, and not choose a career on the basis of salary alone."

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