ET hosts 5th annual Robotics Competition

Northwestern State University’s Department of Engineering Technology hosted the fifth annual Robotics Competition for middle school students Dec. 4, drawing 16 teams from regional schools who participated in several competitions.

Teams competed in a speed challenge, strength challenge, accuracy, maze and tug of war with robots that measured 12 x 12 x 12 inches. Winning teams received trophies and cash prizes to purchase technology.

Winners were Caddo Middle Magnet, first place; Rapides Academy, second place, and Donnie Bickham, third place. Other schools that participated were Green Oaks Performing Arts Academy and Natchitoches Magnet.

The agenda included a Smart Structures Show with demonstrations by students from NSU’s Engineering Technology Department and the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts.

Dr. Jafar Al-Sharab, head of the Department of Engineering Technology, said the event is a way to recruit youngsters to pursue studies in science, math, engineering and technology (STEM). The event was supported by the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce A+ Coalition.

“Scientists and engineers are the people who build technology,” Al-Sharab said.

Information on NSU’s Department of Engineering Technology is available at

Rapides – Maze:

Lawson Kirsch and Kerry Fennix from Rapides Academy tested their robot prior to the maze competition at Northwestern State University’s fifth annual Robotics Competition. Rapides Academy won second place in the competition.

Natchitoches Magnet – Strength:

Timothy Rodriguez, center, and Marquis Miles, right, from Natchitoches Magnet School readied their robot for strength competition while NSU Engineering Technology student Caleb Vining recorded stats during NSU’s fifth annual Robotics Competition. This is the first year Natchitoches Magnet’s Robotics Club has participated.

Tug of War:

Engineering Technology student Christopher Barron organized a tug of war showdown between two middle schools participating in NSU’s fifth annual Robotics Competition. The event is designed to encourage interest in STEM studies and offer mentoring and resource information to regional schools through NSU’s Department of Engineering Technology.

1st Place Caddo Middle Magnet:

A team from Caddo Middle Magnet won first place at Northwestern State University’s fifth annual Robotics Competition.

2nd Place Rapides Academy:

Rapides Academy from Alexandria won second place at NSU’s Fifth annual Robotics Competition.

3rd Place Donnie Bickham:

Donnie Bickham Middle School from Shreveport won third place in NSU’s fifth annual Robotics Competition.