Last month, Rensselaer hosted the New York Tech Valley FIRST ® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. From March 19 to 21, the East Campus Athletic Village was buzzing with activity as 36 teams of high school students put their robots to the test for the competition.

“Robotics is an ideal way to immerse students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines,” said Paul Schoch, associate professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering and director of the Center for Initiatives in Pre-College Education (CIPCE). “We’re proud to have the opportunity to again host the FIRST Robotics Competitions at Rensselaer because events like this not only help students bring technology to life through their hands-on participation, they can also inspire them to consider future careers in the STEM fields.”

Schoch and Mary Burke, manager of special projects at New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), are co-chairs of the 2015 New York Tech Valley competition. The event was also supported by 150 volunteers representing several area and national organizations.

This year, 1,200 students representing teams from the Capital Region, as well as teams from New York state, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and an international team from Canada, participated in the regional event. More than 1,800 people were at the event. Additional attendees included: families, friends, and mentors.

Overall, 75,000 high school students from the United States and around the globe will compete in this year’s competition. Winners for design excellence, sportsmanship, teamwork, and more will advance to the FIRST championship competition in St. Louis, Missouri, April 22-25. Six teams from this year’s regional event have been invited to attend the championship. They include: Team 1111, recipient of the Regional Chairman’s Award; Team 1923, recipient of the Engineering Inspiration Award; and Team 5585, who received the Rookie All Star Award. The winning alliance included Teams: 195, 340, and 4930.

View a complete webcast of this year’s competition produced by Multimedia Services at Rensselaer

View a full list of this year’s award winners