Nationwide robotics competition kicks off at Penn State DuBois

Students had the opportunity to examine part of the robotics course.

Students had the opportunity to examine part of the course they'll operate their robots through during the BEST Kickoff event in the campus gymnasium.

Credit: Steve Harmic

DUBOIS, Pa. — The first round of a nationwide robotics competition for middle and high school students will take place at Penn State DuBois in October. BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) got underway on Saturday (Sept. 10) with the official Kickoff Day, as teams assembled on campus to gather information and the supplies they'll need to build their robot. The competition and Game Days are slated for 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, and continuing from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22. The games will take place in the campus gymnasium, with Penn State DuBois serving as a local hub for the competition for the third year in a row. A Mall Day is also planned for 10: am. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, at DuBois Mall, where the public is invited to take in a preview of the robotics competition.

Teams participating in this year's BEST at Penn State DuBois are DuBois Area High School, Redbank Valley, Cranberry Area High School, Clearfield Area High School, Clearfield County Career and Technology Center, Brockway Area Junior/Senior High, and St. Marys Area High School.

BEST provides all necessary parts and equipment for teams to build a robot that they can use to run a course and perform specified tasks. The robot must be built within a six-week timeframe. On the days of the contest, all teams will run the course, competing for the best times and course completion. Through participation in this project-based program, students learn to analyze and solve problems utilizing the Engineering Design Process, which helps them develop technological literacy skills. The goal is to better prepare these students for further education and careers in STEM fields, (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

The learning opportunities with BEST don't stop at STEM fields, however. Teams also compete and receive awards for other areas of the project, which include marketing, exhibition, sportsmanship, and team spirit.

Winners of BEST at Penn State DuBois will advance to the Northern Plains BEST Regional Championships to be held Dec. 1-3 at North Dakota State University.

More information can be found at

BEST at Penn State DuBois is made possible by sponsorships from Dave and Francie Spigelmyer, Comtec, Atlas Pressed Metals, Eastern Sintered Alloys, and Christine Beretsel.