Utah students are getting more high-tech than ever before! The For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Regional Competition is visiting Salt Lake for the fourth time. Students, parents and teachers from western states will visit the Maverik Center from 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. March 21–23, and Governor Gary Herbert will visit the competition on March 22, from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

“This competition unites the communities of engineering, science, math, technology and business in a way that allows everyone to learn and have fun,” Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert said.

The FIRST Robotics Competition challenges high school Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students to build, design, create and program robots to perform a specific gaming task.

With the help of professional scientists and engineers, students compete with their own robot, earn a chance to enter the world robotics championship and qualify for over $8 million in college scholarships.

“This competition promotes the development of Utah’s workforce of the future that is needed to support our technology industries,” Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) director of business development Marshall Wright said. “Just about all of the kids end up going into engineering and science, and get into great schools.”

The competition is known as the “Superbowl of Smarts” and has over 2,500 sponsors. It allows young minds to work with leading edge technology and showcase their abilities.

This year, 24 of the 44 teams will represent Utah. Other teams will be from California, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Hawaii and Texas.

According to Wright, last year, the regional robotics competition also brought in over $1 million in economic revenue to Utah during the three day competition.

“Real world problem solving and team work has always shown itself to be the best way to create the ‘innovators and innovations of tomorrow’ that will keep America the world’s industrial leader,” Governor Herbert said.