SUNY Poly to Host Robotics Teams for Regional Championships

SUNY Poly to Host Robotics Teams for Regional Championships

Friday, February 10, 2017 - 09:00
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For Release:         Immediate – February 10, 2017

Contact:                Tina Betz, K-12 STEM Outreach Coordinator and FTC Coordinator  ­

(315) 792-7383 |


SUNY Poly to Host Robotics Teams for Regional Championships

Science, technology, and teamwork in the spotlight as young innovators face off


UTICA, NY – Student teams from around New York State will compete in regional robotics championships, held in conjunction with the international program FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), on February 11 and 12 at the Wildcat Field House at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s (SUNY Poly) Utica campus.

 “It is our honor to host the FIRST Championship on our Utica campus,” said SUNY Poly Interim President Dr. Bahgat Sammakia. “FIRST is an inspiration to young minds, offering experiential learning opportunities that drive the innovators of tomorrow, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

The international FIRST organization helps to develop critical science and engineering skills in young people through engagement in exciting mentor-based robotics programs. The weekend championships at SUNY Poly will bring together the top teams in FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) divisions.

"While a strong academic foundation is incredibly important for young minds, so is a solid understanding of how to put that knowledge to work in real-world applications,” said Dr. William Durgin, Provost for SUNY Poly. "Students produce some of the most incredible results when given the resources and opportunity to do so. FIRST Robotics is an exceptional program for young students to engage in STEM activities. SUNY Poly is proud to support K-12 education and delighted to host all of these aspiring robotics engineers."

On Saturday, February 11th from 12 to 4 p.m., ​24 FIRST LEGO League (​FLL​)​ teams, made up of area children ​in grades 4-8, will compete in this year’s “Animal Allies” challenge with robots they have designed and programmed using​ the LEGO Mindstorm​s system. Their robots have been programmed to complete specific animal-related missions on a themed challenge board. They will also present a research project where they attempt to solve real-world problems, which may occur when people and animals interact. The winning team will advance to the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis, MO, in April.

​On Sunday, February 12th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., ​24 FIRST Tech Challenge (​FTC​)​ teams, comprised of students ​from 7th-12th grades, will ​compete in the “Velocity Vortex” ​SUNY Poly ​​Championship ​challenge ​with custom designed​, built, and programmed​ 18" robots which will attempt to place various sized balls into ​several goals, including a​ center​ goal ​on the 12'x12' competition field. Teams develop their strategy and then build robots based on engineering principles and document the process.

 Students learning from the FIRST robotics program come away with a greater appreciation of science & technology and how it can be utilized to positively impact the world around them. Teams gain valuable life skills such as brainstorming, creative problem solving, collaboration, teamwork, planning, time management, leadership, and a myriad of impressive technical skills.

"SUNY Poly is very proud to ​serve as​ the​ ​FIRST youth robotics partner for this region. We are honored to bring STEM programs like this to the students in our area,” said Tina Betz, K-12​ Outreach and​ FTC Coordinator at SUNY Poly. “The ​talents of our young students are on full display​ at these competitions, and it ​is incredible to see the teams work with and support one another. Additionally, the involvement of our local business, education, and technology leaders who volunteer​​​ as coaches, mentors, and judges for these events ​is inspirational. This relationship between the student and the professional is what the FIRST pipeline of learning is all about."

The FIRST Robotics Weekend Championship events are the culmination of three qualifiers in both FLL and FTC robotics programs held in December and January throughout New York State, facilitated by SUNY Poly as FIRST Partner. This weekend's championship events will take place in the Wildcat Field House at SUNY Poly’s Utica campus and are free and open to the public.

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SUNY Polytechnic Institute. SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem, formed from the merger of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and SUNY Institute of Technology. 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 location 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 location. 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 over 300 corporate partners. For information visit