Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas assist in promoting STEM-based initiative

Little Rock, Ark. — March 6, 2019 — Approximately 1,500 students will compete in the 2019 Arkansas Rock City Regional FIRST Robotics Competition on March 6-9 at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock. The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas partner with Arkansas FIRST, a volunteer-based, non-profit organization, to provide students with access to competitive robotics education programs.

This year’s competition features 600 Arkansas students that are members of 39 teams. The Arkansas teams are from Arkadelphia, Barton, Batesville, Bentonville, Booneville, Dewitt, Cabot, Clarendon, Crossett, Fayetteville, Forrest City, Hamburg, Heber Springs, Helena, Hope, Kirby, Lake Village, Little Rock, Marianna, Marion, Marvell, Mayflower, Mountain Home (2), Mount Vernon, Mulberry, North Little Rock, Osceola, Pangburn, Pine Bluff (2), Pleasant Plains, Rogers (2), Searcy, Springdale, Texarkana, Viola and West Memphis.

“We are dedicated to working to improve educational opportunities for the youth of Arkansas,” said Rob Roedel, corporate communications director for the cooperatives. “The Arkansas FIRST Robotics program provides very sophisticated STEM-based learning opportunities. The level of work that the students devote to this program is phenomenal, but the skills that they acquire are even greater.”

Participants also include students from Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee. Additionally, students from Brazil, Germany and Mexico are competing in the event.

According to Meredith Novak, president of Arkansas FIRST, the robotics program has grown tremendously over the past year as organizations, such as the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, have assisted the program.

“The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas have helped to enhance the Arkansas FIRST program throughout the state,” she said. “Our competition is one of the most sophisticated in the nation. The program features strict rules, limited resources and time limits with teams of 25 students or more being challenged.”

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.

For additional information, contact:
Rob Roedel, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 501.570.2296 or rob.roedel@aecc.com