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12-16-2000

HBeing All They Can Be: Area High-school Students Take To Clarkson ROTC Course To Work On Problem Solving

[A photograph for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/first1299.jpg]

What do you get when you cross a ladder, a pole bridge and 50 high-school students with undergraduate and graduate students from Clarkson University?

A creative, team-based lesson in leadership and problem solving.first1299

High-school students from the Clarkson University/Massena High School/Salmon River High School FIRST Robotics Team spent a recent Sunday afternoon at the ROTC Leadership Course on the Clarkson campus. Technology teachers Bernie Bissonnette (Massena High School) and Charles Raiti (Salmon River High School) accompanied the students and will work closely with FIRST throughout the year.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) partners high-school students with industry and universities to design and build a robot, which competes against other robots at the regional and national levels. The FIRST Partnership is designed to foster hands-on experience in the fields of engineering and technology. 

The students visiting campus participated in four physically and mentally rigorous obstacles in order to build cohesion and teamwork, working collectively to master the challenges presented before them.

The obstacles included the pole bridge, the human ladder and log survival. In one instance, an obstacle had to be solved without speaking, testing the students’ non-verbal communication skills. 

The goal of FIRST is to inspire high-school students to pursue college degrees and careers in science, mathematics and technology. Along with exposing students to the engineering process, there are also opportunities for students to get involved in public relations, fund-raising activities, Web page design, graphic animation, artwork and photography.

Students from Clarkson University, Massena High School and Salmon River High Schools, who are interested in participating in FIRST, are welcome to join. In order to fund this invaluable project, the partnership hopes to recruit local and corporate sponsors, who would be willing to donate funds, materials or expertise to support this experiential partnership.

The FIRST Robotics project is part of Clarkson University's SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering
Experience and Design) program which promotes other multidisciplinary project-based learning opportunities, including the Environmental Design, Construction Management, Formula SAE, Solar Car and Mini Baja projects. This is the second year that SPEED has sponsored the FIRST Robotics program.

For more information on FIRST, to become a team sponsor, or to join the team, please contact Tina C. Yuille at 315-268-7976.

PHOTO CAPTION: FIRST Robotics students from Massena and Salmon River high schools race against the clock in their attempt to solve the pole bridge obstacle.  A total of fifty FIRST students spent a recent Sunday afternoon on Clarkson University’s ROTC Leadership Course.      

[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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