GERMANTOWN, Md., /PRNewswire/ -- Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) recently announced it will be supporting the “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST ®) Robotics Competition” for the DC Region being held March 25-26, 2011 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The FIRST Robotics Competition fosters science and technology education for high school students as they build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Winners of the regional competitions will then participate in the FIRST Championship being held April 27-30, 2011 in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.  Hughes also sponsored the Chesapeake Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at the Baltimore Convention Center in early March.

"Hughes is committed to helping students cultivate a deep interest in science and technology to nurture the next generation of engineers," said Dr. Arunas Slekys, vice president of Corporate Marketing, Hughes. "The FIRST Competition is the super bowl for these aspiring engineers, giving each team the real world challenge to design a functional robot, bring their vision to life and compete against their peers. These students are truly impressive and we are excited to be participating in this program once again."

Hughes has been supporting the FIRST Robotics competition for 5 years. In addition to its sponsorship, Hughes executives are serving as judges in the DC Regional and the Chesapeake Regional competitions.

"I continue to be awed by the advanced robots the students create," said Dr. Rajeev Gopal, senior director of the Hughes Defense and Intelligence Systems Division, and judge for the DC Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. "The creativity and imagination that goes into each submission reflects how important it is to support events like FIRST, providing students the opportunity to realize their passion for discovery and innovation in technology."

The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self confidence, knowledge, and life skills, while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering.