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Winners Named in FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship


Members of the Watts Up%3F team from Say Watt Robotics in Edison, N.J., present their design to volunteer judges Rebecca Albert and Edward J. Almasy, instructor of electronics at Pennsylvania College of Technology, during the recent FIRST Technical Challenge Pennsylvania Championship Tournament at the college.Pennsylvania College of Technology was the recent host of FIRST Tech Challenge’s Pennsylvania Championship Tournament, providing a home and a small army of volunteers for a day full of high-level robotics competition among high school teams from seven states.

Thirty teams of enterprising ninth- to 12th-grade students, surrounded by supporters, filled Penn College’s Field House on Feb. 25 to vie for a spot in the FTC World Championship in St. Louis.

The three teams who will advance are Watts Up?, of Say Watt Robotics in Edison, N.J., winner of the Inspire Award; Silver Soldiers, of OJR Robotics/Lockheed Martin in North Coventry, which boasted the Winning Alliance Captain; and Minnie MASH, of Friends of 401 in West Vincent Township, a finalist for the Inspire Award.

Other awards were given to:

  • Minnie MASH, of West Vincent Township, Motivate Award
  • Cougars, of Columbia High School Robotics Club in Maplewood, N.J., Connect Award
  • Landroids, of Livingston Robotics Club, Livingston, N.J., PTC Design Award
  • Silver Soldiers, of North Coventry, Rockwell Collins Innovate Award
  • Minds in Gear, of Minds in Gear Robotics, Coatesville, Think Award
  • Gear Up, of Edison High School in Philadelphia, Judges Award for “Success Under Adversity”

FTC is designed to inspire students to explore and pursue science, technology, engineering and math in grades 9-12. Competitors in FTC events conduct research, fund, design, build and program robots to compete under strict rules and time constraints.

They gain hands-on programming and rapid-prototyping experience. They apply real-world math and science concepts, document the engineering process and present that process to judges and develop problem-solving, organizational and team-building skills.

Teams earned their way to the FTC Pennsylvania Championship Tournament by competing in one of five regional qualifiers held across Pennsylvania. The top six teams from each qualifying event were invited to the Pennsylvania championship at Penn College.

More than 60 Penn College faculty, staff and students, mainly from the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies, volunteered to help with the event, serving as judges and referees and setting up the Field House. Volunteer efforts were led by Bill Mack, assistant dean of industrial and engineering technologies, and Bruce M. Smith, instructor of electronics.

The School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies offers robotics- and engineering-related programs in electronics and computer engineering technologies, manufacturing engineering technology and automated manufacturing technology, computer-aided design, plastics and polymer engineering technology, welding and fabrication engineering technology, and civil engineering technology.

FTC is one of several competition programs FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) offers for students ages 6 to 18. A not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to “turn young people on” to career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, FIRST designs accessible, motivational programs combining teamwork, competition and just plain fun.

During 2011-12, FIRST programs attracted nearly 300,000 youths and more than 100,000 mentors, coaches and volunteers from more than 60 countries.

To learn more about the academic programs offered by the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies at Penn College, call 570-327-4520 or visit online .

For general information about the college, visit on the Web , email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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