Young innovators gearing up for Feb. 16 robot contest

More than 250 middle and high school VEX Robotics students and mentors from across Minnesota will unite at Bemidji State University’s John Glas Fieldhouse Saturday, Feb. 16, for the Dream It Do It Northern Minnesota VEX Robotics Tournament.

Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College are co-hosting the tournament, featuring 26 teams competing with and against other schools and organizations in a series of back-to-back robot challenges. Participants will compete for the championship title by strategically executing the game Sack Attack, driving robots they designed, built and programmed from the ground up using the VEX Robotics Design System. The tournament is made possible by Minnesota’s Dream It Do It campaign and the 360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence.

The public is invited to attend the tournament free of charge; the opening ceremony starts at 10 a.m., and qualification rounds begin at 10:15 a.m. There will also be tournament updates through Dream It Do It’s social media.

“We’re excited that Dream It Do It is part of VEX Robotics in Minnesota,” said Karen White, executive director of 360°. “The technological economy of the future depends on equipping today’s youth with the skills to become tomorrow’s leading innovators. That’s one of our goals with Dream It Do It. This tournament provides kids with an engaging hands-on learning experience that develops critical thinking, project management, leadership and teamwork, and promotes interest in STEM-related education and careers.”

The Dream It Do It tournament is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. VEX Robotics is the world’s fastest-growing competitive robotics program for middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world, with more than 5,000 teams from 30 countries participating in more than 350 VEX Robotics Competition events worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring with the VEX Robotics World Championship event, uniting top qualifying teams from local, state and international VEX Robotics Competitions.

More information about the VEX Robotics Competition is available at, and more information about Dream It Do It is available at

About Dream It Do It
Dream It Do It, led by 360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence, collaborates with industry members to promote careers in manufacturing in Minnesota. To learn more about this initiative, visit or contact Jessica Gehrke, (218) 755-2209.

About 360°
360° Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence is a consortium of 10 institutions led by Bemidji State University and includes Northwest Technical College and eight other technical and community colleges. 360° was initiated by the Governor of Minnesota to strengthen the state’s manufacturing economic sector and serve the needs of the industry by cultivating a potential future workforce through more flexible educational opportunities via the concept of the seamless career pathway. For more information about 360° or any of the institutions involved with the Manufacturing and Applied Engineering ATE Regional Center of Excellence please contact Jessica Gehrke, (218) 755-2209.

About the REC Foundation
The non-profit Robotics Education & Competition Foundation supports robotics and technology events and programs that aim to inspire and motivate students to advance in STEM education. In addition to operating and supporting competitions for some of the world’s leading robotics platforms and organizations including VEX, TSA and BEST Robotics Competitions, the foundation also provides program support and workshops focused on technology and professional development for educators – including the community portal website which helps promote multiple high quality programs and provides online registration and event pages for hundreds of events around the world.