Bradley LeMasurier, 12, a student at the Richardson Middle School in Dracut, was among 32 middle- and high-school students who went to UMass Lowell on Thursday, Jan. 14, to design and build a robot for the international FIRST Robotics Competition. The contest asks students to build a robot that can complete a variety of tasks with materials and limited instructions provided by the contest’s organizers. Over the next six weeks, the students will sharpen their academic skills and learn to use sophisticated computer programs under the guidance of engineers from companies such as Analog Devices, Kronos Inc. and IBM, and leaders of other organizations. Many of these mentors are UMass Lowell alumni. Once the robot is completed, the students will need to prove that it works in the contest’s New England qualifying round in Hartford, Conn. If successful, the team will move on to the world championships in St. Louis in April.