PLEASANTVILLE, NY – February, 2019 – Twenty-seven teams of middle- and high-school students from across the Hudson Valley, Capital Region, and Adirondacks competed head to head in the 10th Annual FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition Sunday, Feb. 10 at Pace University’s Pleasantville Campus.

Widely known for its leading edge computer science and technology programs at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Pace has been a partner with FIRST, providing exciting and effective STEM programs for children since 2003.

Dr. Rick Kline, Associate Professor at the Seidenberg School who coordinates the competition at Pace, said that students from the Seidenberg School played an integral role in the day, assisting teams and running challenges.

More than 40 Pace students and about a dozen alumni, staff, and faculty were among the 100 or so volunteers who ran the event under the guidance of volunteer coordinator and Seidenberg School staff member Jill Olimpieri. Students helped with setup and logistics as well as served as referees, judges, inspectors, and robot technical advisors.

“FIRST is an international, K-12 not-for-profit organization founded to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.  Having a competition like FIRST here at Pace is in keeping with our mission to train the next generation of STEM, computer and technology experts,” said Kline.”

Students in grades 7-12 competed in this year’s space-themed game Rover Ruckus with robots they have been designing, building and programming since the start of the school year. The 27 teams had advanced from a field of 60 teams who participated in other competitions. Sunday’s top three winners were the Roboraiders from Red Hook High School, Red Hook, NY; Suffern Robotics from Suffern Senior High School, Suffern, NY; and Beta, CCE Clinton County 4-H, Plattsburgh, NY. The teams will advance to the world championship in Detroit in April.

In addition to Suffern, local schools who competed included: Blind Brook High School; John Jay High School; Mamaroneck High School; Peekskill High School; Riverside Computer Design High School in Yonkers; and Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson in Pleasantville.

“I have been volunteering for the FTC event at Pace since I was a Freshman,’’ said Graduate student Joel Thomas. “I am always impressed by the innovation and creativity that each team brings to the field.”

Photo: Top: Suffern Senior High School Robotics team advances to the finals in Detroit in April. L to R: Bobby Seif; Anthony Mulrane; Alex Goldstein (Coach); Jason Kardon; Noah Holand; Ron Guter; Jordan Sigal; Hannah Gandon; Francesca Daszak; Diane Tual (Coach) and Ethan Holand.

About Pace University: Pace University has a proud history of preparing its diverse student body for a lifetime of professional success as a result of its unique program that combines rigorous academics and real-world experiences. Pace is ranked the #1 private, four-year college in the nation for upward economic mobility by Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights, evidence of the transformative education the University provides.

From its beginnings as an accounting school in 1906, Pace has grown to three campuses, enrolling 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in more than 150 majors and programs, across a range of disciplines: arts, sciences, business, health care, technology, law, education, and more. The university also has one of the most competitive performing arts programs in the country. Pace has a signature, newly renovated campus in New York City, located in the heart of vibrant Lower Manhattan, next to Wall Street and City Hall, and two campuses in Westchester County, New York: a 200-acre picturesque Pleasantville Campus and a Law School in White Plains.

About FIRST: 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. 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.

FIRST is More Than Robots. FIRST participation is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance the 21st century.