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On Saturday October 29, Nissan and a team of employee volunteers joined middle and high school teams for the annual BEST Robotics Competition at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. The Nissan-sponsored contest teaches problem solving, teamwork and leadership skills through math and science.
The idea for a BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) competition originated in 1993 when two Texas Instruments (TI) engineers were serving as guides for Engineering Day at their company site in Sherman. Together with a group of high school students, they watched a video of freshmen building a robot in Woodie Flowers' class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The high school students were so interested that Ted and Steve said, "Why don't we do this?"
With enthusiastic approval from TI management, North Texas BEST was born. The first competition was held in 1993 with 14 schools and 221 students (including one team from San Antonio).
By 2010, BEST held its first BEST National Championship, taking the top finishers from each of the then three regional championships and pitting them head-to-head in a final nationwide competition to find the best team in the country. BEST has continued to enjoy wonderful growth as a volunteer organization, while maintaining its core values of no entry fees, ties to our educational system and its values and student-led design/construction.
Nissan North America continues its #sponsor of Music City BEST competition again for 2016. Shawn Williams, the Plant Manager of Car Production at Nissan in Nashville, spoke for a moment about Nissan's investment in the STEM program that so many of these students are a part of as well as why it is important.
"If you look across the street from the NISSAN plant in Smyrna, you'll see a $35,000,000 facility where Nissan has partnered with the state of Tennessee to basically bring STEM jobs into the state to train people on things like robotics and mechatronics," said Williams. "We need those jobs. We need them now and we need them in the future."
Today, BEST Robotics has over 850 middle and high school with over 18,000 students participating nationwide.
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