Student robotics team wins two regional awards

Student robotics team wins two regional awards

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 11:40
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The Mohawk Valley’s inaugural FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC) team, with 10 members from Holland Patent and New Hartford school districts, won two awards at the Tech Valley Regional FRC Championship Tournament March 13-15, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

Co-sponsored by SUNYIT and Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES, FRC Team #5030, “The Second Mouse,” won the Rookie All Star Award, which qualifies members to compete at next month’s FIRST World Festival in St. Louis, and the Highest Rookie Seed Award, for achieving the second seed in the qualifying rounds. Team members are: Nicholas Finn and Amanda Milone of Holland Patent High School; and Dakota Baber, Jarod Bialek, Maysara Elazzazi, Meral Evke, Nick Kopyt, Tori Love, Andrew Nerber and David Nopany of New Hartford.

[caption id="attachment_8545" align="alignright" width="324"] FRC-team-March-2014-web.jpg L. to r., Elizabeth Vanderhoef, Meral Evke, Tori Love, Dakota Baber, Jarod Bialek, Maysara Elazzazi, Justin Melnitsky, Andrew Nerber, Ben Weiss. Not pictured: David Nopany, Nick Finn, Nick Kopyt, Dominick Ferone, Amanda Milone, Yu Zhou, Gary VonDauber.[/caption]

The team is mentored by three SUNYIT freshmen, Ben Weiss, Dominick Ferone, and Justin Melnitsky, assisted by Ian Berringer, a Rochester Institute of Technology student. Mechanical Engineering Professor Yu Zhou, associate professor of mechanical engineering, is the SUNYIT senior mentor; Elizabeth Vanderhoef, physics teacher from Holland Patent, and Gary VonDauber, technology teacher from New Hartford, are community senior mentors to the team.

“This was an outstanding performance by our area students—truly amazing,” said Robert Geer, acting president. “SUNYIT is proud to encourage student interest in science and technology accomplishment and leadership through programs such as FIRST. We are grateful to our own students and faculty, as well as mentors from the community, for their hard work and involvement.”

To enable their attendance at the FRC World Festival in St. Louis April 23-25, team members will raise more than $10,000 to cover travel and other costs. More information is available at:

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Its mission 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. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. For more information on the FIRST Family of Programs, see:

SUNYIT, the State University of New York Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome, is New York’s public polytechnic, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in technology and professional studies. Its academic offerings in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies, and its programs in professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing, are complemented by athletics, recreational, cultural and campus life programs, events and activities. Founded in 1966, SUNYIT is a unique high-tech learning environment on hundreds of acres, offering degree programs online as well as on campus. The SUNYIT family of alumni now numbers 25,000.