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01-23-2004

Clarkson First Robotics Team Begins To Design & Build "stack Attack" Robot

Now the Clarkson team has six weeks to design and create a robot that collects and stacks plastic storage containers within a designated area of a 24 feet by 54 feet playing field.

We are very excited to get the new game, said Clarkson student and team leader John Vielkind-Neun. "It looks challenging and fun. We have an ambitious schedule ahead of us but about half our team are veterans. They know how much work is required over the next several weeks and they are committed."

Clarkson University's 2003 FIRST Robotics Team, along with more than 800 other teams from around the world, received the instructions for this year's international robotics design competition, "Stack Attack," on January 4.

Division by Zero, the name of the Clarkson team, this year consists of 35 Clarkson students working with 30 high school students from Salmon River and Massena central high schools. Technical advisers include Clarkson Electrical & Computer Engineering Professor James Carroll and high school teachers Bernie Bissonnette (Massena Central) and Chuck Raiti (Salmon River).

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a national program that aims to inspire high school students to pursue college degrees and ultimately careers in science and technology. The annual robotics competition teams high school students with engineers from universities and industry to design and build a remote-controlled robot that competes in a sporting-like event.

Clarkson faculty adviser James Carroll says there is a pressing need for competitions like FIRST Robotics. "The U.S. is experiencing an increasing shortage of young people who are interested in pursuing careers in technical fields. FIRST is an excellent vehicle to spark high school students' interest in science and technology, and to open their eyes to the many challenges and opportunities available to them in technical career fields."

The Clarkson team has been in existence since 1998. Last year, the team had an outstanding season, finishing well in regional competitions and winning the Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship Award.

Clarkson University also offers FIRST scholarships to graduating high school seniors who have participated on a FIRST Robotics team. Recipients of this merit-based award may enroll in any course of study at Clarkson and may receive up to $6,000 per year for four years, for a total of up to $24,000. Last year, Clarkson awarded 14 full and partial scholarships.

[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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