Teams to Compete in New York Tech Valley Regional 2019 FIRST® Robotics Competition

Photo from: NY Tech Valley FIRST

March 6, 2019

Teams to Compete in New York Tech Valley Regional 2019 FIRST® Robotics Competition

Students will explore the challenges of long-distance space travel

TROY, N.Y. — Hundreds of high school students will find themselves immersed in a challenging space-themed simulation as they compete for a slot in the FIRST World Championship and more than $80 million in scholarship funding. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will once again host the three-day New York Tech Valley FIRST Robotics Competition starting on March 7, 2019.

“Rensselaer values STEM education and inspiration in STEM. That is what we’re celebrating with this competition,” said Paul Schoch, director of the Rensselaer Center for Initiatives in Pre-College Education and a member of the New York Tech Valley FIRST planning committee.

Founded by famed inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST is a national organization that designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. In the annual FIRST® Robotics Competition, teams of high school students must build a robot in response to a specific challenge.

The 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition game, FIRST DESTINATION: Deep SpaceSM, finds teams collecting samples on Planet Primus. Two competing alliances will combat unpredictable terrain and weather patterns, making remote robot operation essential to their mission on the planet. With only two minutes and thirty seconds until liftoff, the alliances must gather as many cargo pods as possible and prepare their spaceships for departure before the next sandstorm arrives.

Working with adult mentors, students had six weeks to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. By combining the excitement of sport and beauty of art with the rigors of science and technology, teams of high school students are challenged to design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform tasks against a field of strong competitors.

“The FIRST Robotics Competition provides an opportunity for our students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to real-world scenarios and to work with professionals from STEM fields. This helps make the coursework meaningful to students and allows students to explore future career opportunities,” said Diane Irwin, K-12 Coordinator of Science for the Ballston Spa Central School District, and a member of the New York Tech Valley FIRST planning committee. “We have seen students that participate in the FIRST Robotics program grow in their confidence, leadership, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.”

The event will bring together student teams from across the Capital Region, New York state, New Jersey, Canada, and Brazil. In its sixth year, the New York Tech Valley FIRST® Regional Robotics Competition is the ultimate Sport for the MindTM where imagination and innovation come together.

“The open-ended, competition-based experience provides students with rich opportunities to work together to solve problems and communicate their solutions to one another at competition,” said Rose Barra, Integrated Business, FACS & Technology Academic Administrator for the Shenendehowa Central School District, and a member of the New York Tech Valley FIRST planning committee.


The competition schedule for March 7-9 includes:

  • Thursday, March 7: Robot Inspections: Students calibrate controls and electronics for optimizing robot performance, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. Practice matches will take place from noon to 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, March 8: Opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m. with brief remarks from several sponsors. Qualifying matches will immediately follow through 5:45 p.m. Awards ceremony, 5:45 to 6:45 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 9: Opening ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m., with remarks from sponsors and state/local elected officials. Qualifying matches will take place until noon. Final rounds will run from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Awards and closing ceremony will take place from 4:45 to 6 p.m.

FIRST Robotics Competition New York Tech Valley Regional is sponsored by:

Lead Co-Sponsors: ASML, GE, GlobalFoundries, KLA, National Grid, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Captains of Innovation: Applied Materials Foundation, AMD, Lam Research

Friends of the Future: Edwards Vacuum, nfrastructure, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., SCREEN Semiconductor Solutions, the Pickett Family Foundation

Contributors:  Accumetra, TEL US, and Westerwood Global LLC. For more information about the New York Tech Valley Regional, visit:

Media Parking: Media may park in the upper level parking, East Campus Athletic Village D lot, provided media credentials are displayed. 


For general inquiries:

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit