First nationwide STEM robotics competition comes to Albany

Using robots to fix real-world problems
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 10:09 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Underwater robots made their debut in Albany Friday.

Albany State University hosted the Marine Advanced Technology Education, or MATE, robotics challenge.

The competition required the middle schoolers to design technology that could help solve real-world problems like global warming’s effect on coral reefs or plastic in our oceans.

The winners of the competition were seventh-graders Aby Shumate, Kennady Hurst and Amekah Keaton.

Amekah Keaton, Aby Shumate, Kennady Hurst won the robotics competition Friday.
Amekah Keaton, Aby Shumate, Kennady Hurst won the robotics competition Friday.(WALB)

“I feel like if we didn’t win this competition I would still be really proud of me and my team because we worked so hard. We had a lot of stress along the way, but I was really excited to win,” said Shumate.

They said they learned a lot but it was tough.

“Every time we dropped the control box, a wire came loose and it was very stressful,” said Keaton.

“We did teamwork and that’s what got us through,” said Hurst.

“I was a judge and so I got to walk around and watch everybody and I think they did amazing. For this being the first time that we’ve ever been able to have our own competition or being able to compete in general, it went pretty good,” said McKenzie Stone, the CEO of the Baconton Community Charter School Robotics Team.

MATE is an annual competition but this is the first time it has come to Albany.

Stone said she is grateful for the opportunity.

“It makes me feel accomplished. Like I’ve actually found something I love to do,” said Stone.

Several female students said they want to go into science-related fields.

The competition that took place Friday was described as a preview for what will take place at next year’s regional meet.

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