Robotics Competition Hero

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (March 22, 2016) -- Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding division sponsored a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition March 19-20 at Churchland High School in Portsmouth. FIRST designs and hosts robotics challenges for high school students worldwide. This competition marked the first one hosted in southeastern Virginia.

“It’s inspiring to see these high school students come together and build these robots and compete,” said Jennifer Boykin, Newport News’ vice president of engineering and design, who served as the competition’s keynote speaker. “This competition helps spark a passion for STEM and offers students invaluable experience working together on hard problems as a team. We need these skills at the shipyard and nationwide. I’m proud to see our employee volunteers and mentors preparing this next generation of STEM innovators.”

In FIRST’s 2016 castle-themed challenge, teams operated their robots to breach their opponents’ defenses and capture their towers, gaining points as their robots progressed through the challenge field.

Of the 34 robotics teams involved, 14 local high school teams from throughout southeastern Virginia participated. Newport News was represented by two judges, one a current employee and another who recently retired, along with 16 team mentors and more than 20 volunteers.

“Newport News employees stepped up to mentor high school teams and volunteered to make this a successful event at Churchland,” said Chris Brown, a Newport News employee who has mentored Phoebus High School’s team for five years. “These students are our future shipbuilders.”

Robotics Competition Hero

Newport News Shipbuilding Engineer Lewis Fisher (left) mentors members of the Royal Robotics team from Churchland High School as they put the final touches on their robot. Royal Robotics was one of 34 teams that competed in the worldwide robotics challenge for high school students. Photo by Matt Hildreth

As the competition’s sponsor, Newport News also donated funds to support FIRST robotics teams consisting of minority or disadvantaged students.

According to FIRST, 88 percent of the organization’s student participants have more interest in school, 90 percent have more interest in taking a challenging math or science course, and 90 percent are more interested in attending college.

About Huntington Ingalls Industries

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of manufacturing, engineering and management services to the nuclear energy, oil and gas markets. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs nearly 36,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit:

Danny Hernandez
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