Brooklyn, Borough of Robots Hundreds of Middle-Schoolers Compete for Robot Fame and Glory

There’s no place like Brooklyn for robots.

The gym at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) was virtually crawling with toaster-sized robo-critters this past Saturday, as hundreds of middle school students and their enthusiastic supporters gathered for the Brooklyn qualifier of the annual FIRST LEGO League robotics competition.

So many Brooklyn schools signed up to compete, there wasn’t enough room for all of them at NYU-Poly. Brooklyn “has the highest participation rate among the five boroughs — in fact, so many Brooklyn schools signed up that we had to send the overflow to compete in the Staten Island and Manhattan qualifiers, which take place in the coming weeks,” said Susan Hermon, FIRST Lego League (FLL) coordinator for Brooklyn.

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“Like FIRST, NYU-Poly recognizes how important it is to inspire students at a young age in the opportunities that a STEM education can provide,” said Vikram Kapila, NYU-Poly associate professor of mechanical engineering and lead of the CBSI NSF program. “FIRST and CBSI show young students that they will be able to change the world if they pursue a rigorous technical education. We can also demonstrate to them, through NYU-Poly’s traditionally high-salary potential rankings, that engineering careers can improve life for their families.”

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