SUNY Poly Named Affiliate Partner for International FIRST Tech

SUNY Poly Named Affiliate Partner for International FIRST Tech

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 11:10
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For Release:       Immediate – September 9, 2015

Contact:             Jerry Gretzinger, Vice President of Strategic Communications and Public Relations ­

(518) 956-7359 |

SUNY Poly Named Affiliate Partner for International FIRST Tech Challenge

Partnership will expand STEM programming designed to educate and inspire young innovators through competitive robotics events

UTICA, NY – In support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s commitment to providing cutting edge academic opportunities throughout New York State, SUNY Polytechnic Institute today announced that it has been chosen as a FIRST TECH Challenge (FTC) Affiliate Partner with the international program FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). FIRST helps to develop the next generation of science and technology leaders by engaging young people in exciting mentor-based robotics programs that build critical science and engineering skills and inspire innovation.

“As Governor Cuomo continues to advance New York’s global leadership in technology innovation, it is spurring the development of world class educational programs that extend all the way to the elementary level. SUNY Poly’s affiliation with FIRST enables the youngest of innovators to experience firsthand the thrill of scientific exploration and provides them with their first glimpse of exciting future career opportunities,” said Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, President and CEO of SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “SUNY Poly is delighted to be chosen as a new FTC Affiliate Partner and looks forward to continued collaboration with FIRST.”

FIRST programs offer children hands-on STEM educational opportunities in exciting, sports-style competitions. FTC is specifically designed for students in grades 7-12 and partners them with mentors to design, build and program robots to go head-to-head against other teams in regional challenges. Successful entrants qualify for over $13.5 million in college scholarships and a chance to compete in the World Championship. With Affiliate Partnership status, SUNY Poly is authorized to host and promote the growth of multiple official and informal robotics events while supporting the statewide growth of FTC and providing guidance for collaborators interested in bringing FIRST to their schools and communities.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with SUNY Poly and provide an enhanced learning experience for program participants in the Mohawk Valley and New York State,” said FTC Director Ken Johnson. “SUNY Poly’s commitment to education through innovation makes it a perfect match for the FIRST family of programs. Together we will continue to engage and inspire tomorrow’s technology leaders and problem solvers and prepare them for a future filled with opportunity.”

Previously, SUNY Poly annually hosted one FTC robotics tournament qualifier in the Pace University region (Hudson Valley, Capital Region and Eastern Adirondacks). SUNY Poly is now an Affiliate Partner for three FIRST programs, including Jr FIRST LEGO League (Jr. FLL), FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and FTC, maintaining its leadership and commitment in supporting the STEM Pipeline from K-12 and college with innovative and hands-on educational opportunities for students.

“A strong foundation in STEM is critically important for young students, but so is having a solid understanding of how to apply that knowledge to countless real world scenarios, said Robert Geer, SUNY Poly Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “We at SUNY Poly pride ourselves on the innovative, experiential learning we offer our students and the community.”

“Students produce amazing results when they are given the freedom and opportunity to show what they are capable of,” said Dr. William Durgin, Provost of SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “Students often learn best through hands-on, real-world experience and FIRST is a prime example of how experiential learning turns out some of the finest young thinkers our world has to offer.”

“With the addition of FTC, SUNY Poly has now become the affiliate partner for three of the four FIRST programs: Jr FLL, FLL, and FTC,” said Elizabeth Rossi, K-12 Outreach Coordinator for SUNY Poly. “In this role, SUNY Poly serves 1,000 children from the age of 6 to 18 each year with opportunities to collaborate and compete.”


SUNY Poly’s newly formed Excelsior FTC region extends from Herkimer County to Buffalo and from the Canadian to Pennsylvania border. FTC teams are generated through school-based programs or clubs or neighborhood associations and are encouraged to work with adult engineering mentors. Participants learn college and career-ready skills, displaying innovation, gracious professionalism and the spirit of entrepreneurship.  SUNY Poly students, faculty, and staff volunteer and organize events, serving as judges, referees, and team hosts.

The FIRST Tech Challenge kick-off will take place Saturday, September 12 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Student Center at SUNY Poly’s Utica site. The event will include morning workshops on effective engineering notebook design, introduction to java programming, and tournament interview strategies. The live reveal of the 2015 FTC game will take place at noon, followed by a look at the game on a tournament-quality field.

For more information about FIRST programming at SUNY Poly, visit