35 teams from across New England ‘gather’ for third-annual Governor’s Cup FIRST NH Robotics event

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Dave Price, Chief UAS Pilot, Greenman-Pedersen, Inc, and longtime FIRST volunteer, and Cambria Hobbs, a Plymouth State University student, comment on the action from the FIRST Update Desk at Plymouth State University’s Makerspace.

PLYMOUTH, NH  – Thirty-five robotics teams comprising nearly 200 high school students recently participated in the third annual ‘Governor’s Cup’ FIRST NH Robotics Event, which was reimagined as a virtual event produced by Plymouth State University for 2020. Produced by Plymouth State University, the virtual event featured individuals and teams from high schools throughout New Hampshire and beyond showcasing their FIRST skills and competing for awards and scholarships, as they took part in virtual workshops, games, lab tours, and fun sessions with sponsors and New Hampshire colleges and universities. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and FIRST founder and famed Granite State inventor Dean Kamen shared inspiring messages to open the event, which was held via Zoom on Saturday, October 24, 2020.

The Governor’s Cup usually pits FIRST teams against each other on a basketball court-sized surface with 120-pound robots as they attempt to complete challenges within a two-and-a-half-minute match. This year’s event featured six virtual workshops on topics such as “how masks work,” three panel discussions, including one on paying for college, as well as games, virtual lab tours, and even a virtual pit, which is where teams huddle to work on their robots and strategize at in-person FIRST competitions.

“Our team had a very enjoyable experience and we were watching together on Discord during the awards ceremony so they were able to share their excitement with each other when it was announced that we won the Governor’s Award,” said Matthew Gage, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts Lowell and Mentor, FRC Team #166, Merrimack. “While it would have been great for the event to be in person, this was a great alternative and we appreciate the effort that FIRST NH is putting in to help teams to have the best experience possible in these challenging times.”

Moderator Laurel Skiff, BAE Systems (upper left) leads the “Finding and Using Your Voice in STEM” panel with Panelists Naoka Gunawardena, DEKA (upper right), Leslie Buckley, Comcast (lower left), and Katie Fredette, BAE Systems (lower left).

The 2020 Governor’s Cup FIRST NH Robotics event award winners were:

The Governor’s Award – Presented to the teams judged to best exemplify the true meaning of FIRST through measurable impact on participants, school, and community-at-large with emphasis on promoting science and technology through FIRST programs.

Seniors on the top three teams will receive one semester of waived tuition at any University System of New Hampshire or Community College Systems of New Hampshire institution.

  • Team #166, Chop Shop, Merrimack, NH
  • Team #1073, The Force Team, Hollis, NH
  • Team #811, Cardinals, Nashua, NH

The Woodie Flowers “Good Stuff” Award – Celebrates outstanding demonstration of FIRST core values such as continuous, gracious professionalism, supporting the community, collaborating with others, and spreading positivity

  • Team #1073, The Force Team, Hollis, NH

Smells like NH Spirit Award – Celebrates extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit through exceptional partnership and teamwork furthering the objectives of FIRST.

  • Team #131, C.H.A.O.S., Manchester, NH

Winnipesaukee Judges Award – Presented to a team that the judging panel determines merits special recognition for their unique efforts, performance, or dynamics.

  • Team #7314, Tornadoes, Franklin, NH

Wookie Rookie Award – Celebrates enthusiasm and passion in a first-year team, and demonstrates the core values of FIRST.

  • Team #8410, Null Set – Oyster River, Durham, NH

Rockin’ Ewok Rookie Award – Celebrates a first-year team that shows commitment to science and technology education within their team and within their community. They understand the FIRST mission and embrace the principles of FIRST.

  • Team #8046, The Lakerbots, Meredith, NH

The CAD is Strong with this One – sponsored by AutoDesk – Celebrates detail and functionality through the use of computer aided design (CAD) drawings. CAD drawings demonstrate technical ability and skill within a specified program.

  • Team #5813, Morpheus, Concord, NH

603 Alumni Award – Recognizes outstanding FIRST Alumni who are active in the New Hampshire community. This person has makes outstanding contributions to FIRST and spreads the ideals of FIRST, such as inspiring innovation, engaging in STEM, and gracious professionalism.

  • Dan Karon, Team #131, C.H.A.O.S., Manchester, NH

    Eitan Zeira, Project Manager, DEKA, presents a presentation on “The Science of COVID: How Masks Work.”

The following individuals were awarded $2,000 scholarships toward tuition at any University System of New Hampshire or Community College Systems of New Hampshire institution.

  • Xiomara Head, Team #7314 Tornadoes, Franklin, NH
  • Shaylie Lagasse, Team #2342 Team Phoenix, Nashua, NH
  • Haider Khan, Team #2342 Team Phoenix, Nashua, NH
  • Elizabeth Guillotte, Team #7314 Franklin Tornadoes, Franklin, NH
  • Matthew Redard, Team #3467 Windham Windup, Windham, NH
  • Ryan Baer, Team #1729 Team Inconceivable!, New Ipswich, NH

The 2020 Governor’s Cup FIRST NH Robotics Event was sponsored by Autodesk, BAE Systems, Comcast/NBC Universal, Eversource, FIRST NH and Plymouth State University.

In 2019, more than 700 volunteers and spectators supported and cheered more than 300 student competitors on 35 teams throughout the day-long Governor’s Cup event at Plymouth State University. The Governor’s Cup is an off-season robotics competition for the state’s FIRST Robotics Competition teams.

For more information about the Governor’s Cup, visit www.FIRSTnh.org/governors-cup.