Establishing a Robotics Competition in an Underserved Region: Initial Impacts on Interest in Technology and Engineering

  • Brad Deken (Southeast Missouri State University)
  • Doug Koch (University of Central Missouri)
  • John Dudley (Southeast Missouri State University)


This paper describes the processes undertaken to develop and sustain high school robotics teams in a technologically and economically underserved region and to support their participation in a qualifier competition. The project consisted of seeking and attaining funding, recruiting participating schools and mentors, recruiting students, training mentors, providing technical assistance, hosting a mock competition, and coordinating the actual robotics competition. A brief survey was used to collect exploratory information on the influence of the robotics team/ competition on students selecting a STEM discipline, college majors, and whether or not the participants plan to return next year. Of the 250 student participants, 68 responded and it was found that the younger students, 7–10th grade, had strong prior interests in engineering and technology. The 11th and 12th graders seemed to gain more of an interest through participation in the process. 43% of the participants reported that participation in the competition influenced their decision of a college major. The results suggest that the project did increase student awareness of the STEM fields, particularly engineering and technology. Students also responded that they gained experience and appreciation regarding important non-technical skills including teamwork, cooperation between schools, and project management.

Keywords: administration, higher education, robotics, teaching methods, teamwork

How to Cite:

Deken, B. & Koch, D. & Dudley, J., (2013) “Establishing a Robotics Competition in an Underserved Region: Initial Impacts on Interest in Technology and Engineering”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 29(3).

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Published on
02 Jul 2013