MOREHEAD Ky. (FOX 56) – A young Kentucky student’s passion for robotics will be put on display. Shawn Nelson and his team are set to represent Kentucky at a national robotics competition in Houston, Texas.

Shawn and the team have built a fully functioning robot that will compete in what’s called the FIRST World Robotics Competition. He’s one of two Kentuckians going for the gold.  

Shawn said he and the team came from winter break early and spent around 20 hours for two weeks to get this robot running and that he’s been training for this moment his whole life.

“I would always be looking around me thinking, ‘I wonder how that works? What’s the inside of that look like? At a young age, I was taking apart computers, or different things leaving pieces all around the house. Really, I just wanted to figure out a way that I could use my skills and knowledge of programming, part building, design, stuff like that to compete somewhere,” Nelson said.

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

“What the students are really learning is more about what we tend to promote at Craft Academy, which is that entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, and design of building the robot, and then also civic and regional engagement and sportsmanship,” said instructor and Craft QEP director Dr. Rachel Rogers.

The competition will kick off Wednesday in Houston Texas. Shawn’s team will take the field Friday.