CNY FIRST Robotics Competition Returning to SUNY Poly in 2019

CNY FIRST Robotics Competition Returning to SUNY Poly in 2019

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 13:51
In the News
FIRST Robot Championship 800x680

For Release:          Immediate – September 26, 2018

Contact:                 Dave Dellecese, Public Affairs Specialist ­

                        (315) 792-7307 |

CNY FIRST Robotics Competition Returning to SUNY Poly in 2019

Prestigious International Event Expected to Draw Thousands to the Region Once Again

Utica, NY – A world-renowned, multi-day robotics competition is scheduled to return to SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) in March, drawing thousands of people who will take part or watch the intense, nonstop robot vs. robot matches. The Central New York 2019 Regional FIRST Robotics Competition will be held March 14-16 in the Wildcat Field House at SUNY Poly’s Utica campus where as many as 2,500 students in grades 9-12 are expected to come from around the world with their families, mentors, and volunteers.


The competition allows students and their mentors to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-based (STEM) skillsets as they compete for honors, recognition, and the chance to earn the coveted spot at the World Championships, which is to take place the following month.


“On behalf of SUNY Poly, I am thrilled that such a successful and well recognized event is returning to our campus, providing a chance for the thousands of people from around the world who will be in attendance to gain a glimpse of the exciting hands-on educational opportunities that SUNY Poly and the Mohawk Valley region offer,” said SUNY Poly Interim President Dr. Grace Wang. “This technologically-focused competition involving robots designed and built by high school students is the perfect way to encourage the development and enhancement of STEM skills, and it acts as an excellent example of the type of immersive learning experience that SUNY Poly is widely recognized for as we educate the innovators of tomorrow.”


SUNY Poly and the Mohawk Valley have been home to a number of FIRST robotics teams, made up of students who travel across the state and the country to develop critical science and engineering skills through engagement in exciting mentor-based robotics programs. However, 2018 was the first time that the Utica campus hosted this high-level competition.


As plans for the event take shape, event sponsors, team mentors, and both technical and non-technical volunteers are sought. Interested sponsorship parties are asked to contact Andrea LaGatta of the SUNY Poly Foundation at Those interested in becoming team mentors or volunteers may contact SUNY Poly’s FIRST Coordinator at   


“It is a wonderful honor to have the Central New York FIRST Robotics Competition return to SUNY Poly, and it is a powerful testament to the faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and participants who made the inaugural event such an initial success,” said Dr. Steven Schneider, Interim SUNY Poly Provost. “We are quite proud of our long history with FIRST and the experiential learning it provides, allowing students the ability to find innovative solutions to problem solving.”


The winning robotics team at the Central New York 2019 Regional FIRST Robotics Competition will advance to compete against the strongest FIRST teams in the world at championship events in Detroit and Houston in April 2019. Last year, SUNY Poly’s own FRC Team, The Second Mouse, was among the alliance of teams declared regional champions and headed onward to the World Championships in Michigan.

Past and present SUNY Poly engineering students act as mentors for FRC Team 5030 The Second Mouse, a team consisting of area high school student team members; it is open to any area high school student who applies. It currently consists of members from Utica, Whitesboro, New Hartford, and Sauquoit Valley High Schools. The March event will see the Second Mouse team compete on their home turf.

The positive impact on FIRST Robotics Competition participants is tremendous, with FIRST studies showing more than 88% of those who participate are interested in doing well in school and 92% of participants are interested in attending college. Teams learn from professional engineers; master STEM skills; learn and use sophisticated software, hardware, and power tools; improve teamwork, interpersonal, management, planning, and communication skills; learn the practice of gracious professionalism; and qualify for millions of dollars in college scholarships as they come away with a greater appreciation of science & technology and how it can be utilized to positively impact the world around them.

I am so proud that SUNY Polytechnic Institute has once again been chosen to host the Central New York Regional FIRST Robotics Competition,” said Janice Martino, FIRST Robotics Program Coordinator at SUNY Poly. “Last year's competition was an overwhelming success. SUNY Poly and Central New York hosted around 1,000 high school students from seven states and three countries. These talented kids with a penchant for engineering came toting their 125-pound robots through a blizzard. They were ready to compete for their chance to advance to the FIRST Robotics World Championship and our community really came out to support them and cheer them on. It was spectacular, and we are excited follow last year’s success!”

Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team brand, hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-sized robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. FIRST teams and competitions range in categories based on age and include:

  • FIRST LEGO League Junior (FLLJR) – capturing young curiosity of students in kindergarten through third grade and directing it toward discovering the wonders of science and technology;
  • FIRST LEGO League (FLL) – Students in grades 4 through 8 research a real-world engineering challenge and compete with LEGO-based robots of their own design;
  • FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) – Teams in grades 7 through 12 are challenged to design, build, and program a robot to accomplish various tasks with and against other robots; and
  • FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) – A head-to-head competition for students in grades 9 through 12 on a special playing field with robots they have designed, built, and programmed.

The multi-day March 2019 event is an FRC event, and one of only seven regional events in New York State and more than 100 regional and district events throughout the world.


About SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly)

SUNY Poly is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience and nanoeconomics programs at its Albany campus, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica/Rome campus; thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts billions of dollars in high-tech investments and hundreds of corporate partners since its inception. For information visit