FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — This December, nearly 2,000 students and their families are expected to be in Florence for the BEST Robotics Competition.

The competition will take place inside Flowers Hall at the University of North Alabama, and it’s something university officials say they’re very excited to host. Previously, the South’s BEST Robotics Competition had taken place at Auburn University.

UNA Provost and Executive VP for Academic Affairs Dr. Ross Alexander says, “It was a result of a competitive process, and we were pleased to go head-to-head with other larger research universities in the state and region to secure the host for the competition.”

The BEST – Boosting Engineering Science and Technology – Competition is designed to engage and excite students about these topics and inspire them to pursue careers in these fields.

“We are leaning into and expanding purposefully our degree programs in computing, engineering, and technology. I think the BEST team saw our commitment to those disciplines, and how their students would be advantaged by coming to UNA for the competition,” said Dr. Alexander. 

Competitions will take place throughout the fall at high schools in the southeast region.

The winning teams will then bring their best designs to the regional competition at UNA in December.

“These students learn how to do marketing competitions to promote their robots. They also will do engineering notebooks. The teams that are put together are just so well-rounded and multi-faceted…it’s more than just a robotics competition,” UNA Assistant VP for Enrollment Management Julie Taylor said.

Taylor hopes the competition will also spark the students’ interest in their postsecondary education plans.

“We do offer lucrative scholarships for particular programs that these students will be interested in (computing, engineering, accounting, etc.). So, we’re excited to be able to offer these students not only the opportunity to come to campus, but to show them the opportunities they will have if they become students here at UNA,” added Taylor.

For more on how you can get involved, click this link.