Students battle in FIRST Robotics Regional Competition at Cashman Center

Students compete Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition at Cashman Center in downtown Las Vegas. (Justin Michel/KSNV)

Robots are connecting teens to scholarships and college recruiters from throughout the country, and it’s happening here in Las Vegas.

At Cashman Center this weekend engineering, math and technology are the center of attention at the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition.

The fast-moving robots are the results of long hours put in by high school students from throughout the world. For many though the matches bring so much more than bragging rights. In some cases they are life changing.

“Robotics actually helped me get into college,” said Clark High School senior, Bryan Cabanas. “Without this program I would be lost."

Next year the teen is moving to Los Angeles as the first person in his family to not only graduate from high school, but to go to college. He is attending California State University, Northridge as an engineering student.

“I feel like I can tackle college and even more. Now that i joined. With all the knowledge i learned from our mentors? I think I can do more."

The teen credits his teachers and first robotics mentors for keeping him on the right track.

"I actually want to become a mentor myself and come back to this team and help out,” said Cabanas.

He's not alone in these feelings. Chiara Crawford -- also a robotics student at Clark -- is already giving back as a FIRST Robotics mentor for elementary students.

“They are the future of us. We want better people to make our future bigger and better. Make our future better for us," she said.

On her own time she also reaches out to Title One schools with plans on how to make math and science shine. The high school senior says she sees a need for minority representation in STEM fields.

“I think everyone should have the same experience because these kids are having something a lot of other kids don't get this and I think it's really unfair,” said Crawford. “I think everyone should be able to do this."

More than $50 million in scholarships will be made available to FIRST Robotics students this year. If you would like to learn more, click here.

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