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Governor's Cup

By Samantha Latos
On October 4, 2018

Following up his mission to build New Hampshire's workforce for, “Not just tomorrow but for five, ten, twenty years,” Governor Sununu has worked with the NH College & University system to offer a great opportunity for high school students who participate with their FIRST Robotics Competition team at the Governor’s Cup. 

50 high school seniors have the chance to earn one-semester scholarships to the state’s public institutions. Scholarships can be applied to: Plymouth State University, Keene State College, Granite State College, Great Bay Community College, Lakes Region Community College, Manchester Community College, Nashua Community College, NHTI Concord’s Community, River Valley Community College, University of New Hampshire Main Campus, University of New Hampshire at Manchester, and White Mountains Community College.

There will also be five two-thousand dollar scholarships for High School seniors nominated by their coaches and mentors. Applications for scholarships can be found at https://firstnh.org/docs/scholarship-criteria.pdf. For any questions regarding the scholarships, contact tgcscholarship@firstnh.org.

To qualify for the scholarships, the high school seniors must have participated in the 2017 to 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition. They must currently be participating in the 2018 to 2019 season, including The Governor’s Cup competition. The scholarships will go to the three teams of the winning alliance. 

The Governor's Cup will take place on October 13th at ALLWell North at Plymouth State University. Teams should start arriving at 8am, and opening ceremonies will take place at 9am. Closing ceremonies are planned for 5pm. 

Gathering high school students to PSU is a good opportunity for recruitment. “We’re excited to have them here for the day. We’re hoping that they will love it here and consider going here for college,” Marlin Collingwood, Director of Marketing, Communication & Creative Services said.

Set up will take place on Friday and Saturday. All the competitions are scheduled for Sunday. This is a national event, although this is the first Governor’s Cup. It’s the first done in the fall, the first involved with NH high schools, and the first sponsored by the governor. 

All are welcome to come and watch. There is no entrance fee for entrance or parking. 

The teams will build their robots before the competition. “It’s great to build leadership skills, to build teamwork,” Collingwood said, “It’s really fascinating because when I first heard this I thought the best school would build the best robot. They’re all going to get the same kit. It’s how they program the robot that makes the competition.” All the teams will build the same robot. The team who manages the best functioning robot will have an advantage in the competition.

Department Chair, Dr. Zhizhang Shen, PhD, is involved in the events. “There’s a computer in the middle, that’s got the processor. Then on the left, it’s got sensors that will collect all of the information,” he said, “The processor will process all of that information. They give out the commands to the “actors.” That’s how the robot will wave it’s arm, it’s got the commands from the brain.” This is what the participants have to create out of the supplies in the kit. They must be able to program a robot with a functioning brain that can send messages to its body, similar to a human being.

The process of building robots is no easy feat. “That’s how it actually moves and works, like an automatic car,” Dr. Shen said, “The sensors will see other cars, and then pass that information to the computer on board. The computer will look at the information and use it to make a decision. The robot will either step on the break or the engine, depending on the information the sensors picked up.”

The robots themselves are going to be a sight to behold. The kits construct an 120-pound robot, and including the battery, it’s probably going to be 150 pounds. They’re going to be fairly large.

“We are thrilled to host The Governor’s Cup at Plymouth State University, and look forward to welcoming students, mentors, teachers and parents from throughout the state to campus,” said President Donald L. Birx, Ph.D. “As a university, we value the FIRSTRobotics mission to inspire students to collaborate, innovate and acquire skills to help them become leaders. As an engineer, I am excited to see how the students tackle the challenges of the competition – it will be a fun event!”

Students are encouraged to come out and watch the events. “It’s lots of fun,” Dr. Shen said, “I believe we have thirty people coming for each team, including the students, coaches and parents.” The Governor’s Cup is a large-scale event that requires a lot of community involvement. Volunteers are needed to accommodate for all the expected guests. Volunteers have the option to volunteer in the morning, afternoon, or the whole day, on both Friday and Saturday. 

On Friday, they are looking for people to help out with general indoor and field setup. Some of the tasks on Saturday include referees, robot inspectors, practice field attendants, field resets, and people to run welcome tables. There are more opportunities for volunteer work listed online. For volunteer registration, visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdF0v1NX0akuvpXILZrVeK0pTGeCHR_7lqBB5sxIvojCKyBaQ/viewform.

For more information on the Governor’s Cup, visit https://firstnh.org/governors-cup. Any further questions can be sent to Director of Infrastructure, Christopher Drever, at ctdrever@plymouth.edu.

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