College of Technology's Robotics Program Gets Funding Boost from Statoil

Statoil, an international energy company, has agreed to be a key sponsor for the University of Houston's robotics program, which is operated by the College of Technology and designed to inspire youths' interest and participation in science and technology.

Statoil, a Norwegian company that has its North American headquarters in Houston, has agreed to donate $40,000 a year for the next three years to be a gold-level sponsor for FIRST LEGO League (FLL) activities in the greater Houston area. The Coordination of Robotics Education Program (CORE) is the operational partner for the FLL’s youth robotics programs.

"We are pleased to be able to work with CORE to increase the number of children participating in FLL in our area. FIRST LEGO league gets children excited about science and technology and teaches them how to solve problems and make positive contributions to society," said Michele Wood, vice president/communications for Statoil USA & Mexico. "We're pleased to give our support to talented young people in sports, culture and education, helping them to become the heroes of tomorrow."

As well as financial support, Statoil's commitment to FLL includes a mentorship program for its employees to work directly with teams, a robot kit loaner program to help new teams get started, and support of competitive and robotics education events.

"Statoil's culture is built on the involvement of its employees in the communities where they do business. Here in Houston, their employees will become role models to area youths through team coaching, participation in the visiting mentor program and volunteerism at competitions and events," said UH's Karen Cohen, CORE's program manager.

Statoil has sponsored FLL in Scandinavia for 10 years and is expanding its sponsorship to other regions. More than 170,000 children from 56 countries are expected to participate in FLL globally in the 2010-2011 program, and more than 1,500 children from 26 school districts participated in local FLL programs.