Two FIRST Robotics Competitions Heat Up February at Clarkson

March 7, 2023

Clarkson University played host to two FIRST Robotics Competitions last month. The FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifier tournament on Feb. 6 and 7 and the First Lego League Robotics tournament for the NY Excelsior Region of FIRST Robotics on Feb. 11 and 12 drew more than 50 teams of K-12 students.

students and officials stand around a square robotics arena filled with obstacles
Students and Officials stand around a square robotics arena filled with obstacles

Teams from local and regional school districts in central and northern New York competed across these events, designing and programming robots as a group to complete coding challenges. Several Clarkson students volunteered to oversee the event and assist in running it smoothly, including members of the CU Robotics team and of Clarkson’s Robotics Living Learning Community (LLC).

Clarkson-hosted robotics competitions provide students with high interest in STEM fields the opportunity to demonstrate their research, display the core values of their teams, and to fine-tune and test the technical details of their robot design.

The theme for the 2022-23 season is ENERGIZE FIRST, a focus meant to spark innovation by encouraging teams to “reimagine the future of sustainable energy and power their ideas forward.”

FIRST LEGO League introduces science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to children ages 4 to 16 through fun, exciting hands-on learning. Participants gain real-world problem solving experience through a guided, global robotics program, helping today's students and teachers build a better future together. FIRST LEGO League consists of three divisions (Discover, Explore, and Challenge), aimed at inspiring youth to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding, and design skills through hands-on STEM learning and robotics.

Through the three divisions of FLL, students work to understand the basics of STEM and apply their skills in an exciting competition while building habits of learning, confidence, and teamwork skills along the way.

In the SUPERPOWERED challenge, FIRST LEGO League teams “explore where energy comes from and how it is distributed, stored, and used – and then put their superpowered creativity to work to innovate for a better energy future.”

FIRST Tech Challenge teams (10+ members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format.

In the POWERPLAY presented by Raytheon Technologies challenge, FIRST Tech Challenge teams “compete in an energy-driven game and test the limits of performance, efficiency, and endurance as they power their innovations forward.”

Clarkson’s Robotics LLC is a co-ed themed housing option for up to 20 freshman and sophomore students who are interested in working on robotics related activities while living with other students who have a similar interest. This robotics-oriented LLC allows lower-level FIRST Robotics LLC members to work with experienced upper-level FIRST Robotics LLC members to provide more effective mentoring to local K-12 students involved in the Northern New York Robotics Academy (NNYRA) outreach efforts.

Clarkson hosts Robotics competitions on an annual basis. For more information, see

Clarkson University is a proven leader in technological education, research, innovation and sustainable economic development. With its main campus in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Hudson Valley, Clarkson faculty have a direct impact on more than 7,800 students annually through nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate STEM designated degrees in engineering, business, science and health professions; executive education, industry-relevant credentials and K-12 STEM programs. Alumni earn salaries among the top 2% in the nation: one in five already leads in the c-suite. To learn more go to
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