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NMSU announces winners of ‘Made to Order’ robotics competition

More than 250 middle- and high-school students from across New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, gathered Nov. 12 for the 2022 New Mexico Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology, or BEST, Robotics competition.

Winners of the 2022 “Made to Order” competition include Chaparral Middle School, Deming High School, Los Lunas High School and Newcomb High School from New Mexico, along with Eastlake High School from El Paso. The winning teams will advance to the virtual regional competition in early December.

Hosted by the New Mexico State University’s College of Engineering, the BEST competition engages middle- and high-school students with engineering and technology concepts and skills through participation in a robotics design challenge. Student teams are given a specific timeline and receive a kit of parts and electronics to design and build remote-controlled robots to accomplish a specific task.

“For 30 years, BEST Robotics has been impacting students across the nation, by giving them experience that mirrors real-world engineering projects,” said STEM Program Manager Clara Raley. “We were so excited to continue to provide opportunities for students to practice entrepreneurial skills, project management and, of course, robotics.”

This year, students created robots that could replace humans in the operation of a shipping fulfillment center. The robots had to be able to build, maintain and control Squeaky—the product robot that sits on a conveyer belt. The student robot was also tasked with retrieving order boxes, and placing them close enough to the track for Squeaky to place items into. This mirrors the real-world push for continued innovation in manufacturing and delivery systems.

“Many of the BEST Robotics competitions have been so applicable to New Mexico’s economy and the direct experiences of New Mexico students,” Raley said. “Our STEM outreach efforts are important for meeting the workforce needs of our state and competitions like BEST create a pivotal link in the pipeline.”

NM BEST has been hosted by the NMSU College of Engineering since 2001 to encourage participants to pursue higher education engineering and other STEM-related fields. The program is offered at no cost to participating schools thanks to financial support provided by Sandia National Laboratories and Chevron.