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01-22-1999

Clarkson University's Speed Program Teams With Potsdam, Massena High Schools To Build A Robot For National Competition

They have a name. They have a logo. Now the team participating in a March robotics competition has begun work on what they hope will be the winning entry.

The newly christened North Country Ice Warriors is a joint partnership of Clarkson University and its SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) Program, along with Massena High School and Potsdam High School. The team is busily preparing for the U.S. FIRST Robotics Competition, and the New England Regionals in Manchester, N.H., on March 18-20.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) aims to “inspire curiosity and create interest in science and mathematics among today’s youth by immersing them in the world of engineering, and showing the important connection between classroom and real world applications.”  Teams across the country have only six weeks to design and build their remote controlled robots.  The robots compete in regional and national competitions.

Ninety-five members make up the North Country Ice Warriors, including students and teachers from the three schools, University staff members, parents and employees from the area’s industries.  The team is broken into several sub-teams, including Web page design, computer graphics, public relations, fundraising, artwork, electrical and control systems, mechanical systems, and project management.

The team’s nickname was the brainchild of Tina C. Yuille, SPEED project coordinator, and two Potsdam High School students, Shay LaPlante and Mary Corrine Howe. Other team names that were considered included the North Country Raquettes, The Fudds and the Stone-Cold Raiders.  After a team vote, Ice Warriors won out, and the robot they will build will be named for its namesake.

Competition in U.S. FIRST began in earnest when Yuille, Professor Jim Carroll of Clarkson, and John Croasdaile of Massena High School traveled to Manchester recently to receive the rules for this year’s competition along with the standard kit of parts to be used to build the Ice Warrior. Meanwhile the Ice Warriors have been busy brainstorming winning strategies and designs for the robot, and have begun building the practice playing field.

Clarkson University’s SPEED Program (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) promotes project based learning opportunities by providing engineering design opportunities for Clarkson students through 16 project activities including the Solar Car competition and the U.S. FIRST Robotics competition.  SPEED is supported by grants from General Electric and General Motors.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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