Harding University Receives Arkansas FIRST Volunteer Of The Year Award

Harding University received the Volunteer of the Year Award at the 2018 Arkansas Rock City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition on Friday, March 9 at the Barton Coliseum on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. Harding President Bruce McLarty accepted the award on behalf of the University.

“By sponsoring events, providing volunteers and partnering with FIRST Robotics, Harding University has demonstrated a strong commitment to teaching students about robotics, mathematics and engineering,” said Lieutenant Gov. Tom Griffin “These skills will be critical in developing the workforce needed to fill the jobs of tomorrow, and I’m thankful for Harding University’s commitment.”

According to Meredith Novak, president of Arkansas FIRST Inc., the Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to an individual, business or organization that consistently excels in their efforts with proven results in the areas of impact, leadership, personal commitment, community and historical contributions.

“Harding has been a partner with [Arkansas FIRST] since the very beginning,” Novak said. “The support it has provided us is a vital part of the reason [FIRST] has grown so much throughout the state.”

The Harding Academy robotics team Breakaway 3937 qualified for the FIRST Robotics World Championships for the sixth time in the past seven years. Several members from last year’s team traveled to Zhengzhou, China to compete at the 2017 China Robotics Challenge July 18-30.

“Just a few years ago, robotics as a field was virtually unknown at Harding Academy,” said McLarty. “Since then, our involvement in Arkansas FIRST has become an energizing component of our growth toward STEM excellence, and robotics has provided an exciting new arena in which our students can work in teams, compete and excel.”

Arkansas FIRST— For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — is a volunteer -based, non-profit organization founded to ensure every Arkansas student has access to competitive robotics education programs. The organization sponsors events, facilitates grants and offers technical support to high school robotics teams.

The FIRST Robotics Competition is a program that challenges high school students — working with professional mentors — to design and build a robot to contend in competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration and the determination of students. Teams in the Arkansas Rock City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition vie for regional awards and a spot at the FIRST Championship to be held April 18-21, 2018 at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

About Harding University:

Harding University is a private Christian, liberal arts university located in Searcy, Arkansas. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, it is the largest private university in the state. Harding’s student body represents all 50 states and 54 nations and territories. The University offers more than 100 undergraduate majors; graduate and professional degrees at the master’s, specialist and doctoral levels; as well as numerous study abroad opportunities including locations in Australia, Chile, England, France, Greece, Italy and Zambia. For more information, visit www.harding.edu.

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