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The Berkshires

Students gear up for robotics competition

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Albany/HV: Students gear up for robotics competition
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With no guarantees the job market will be any more stable by the time they graduate college, a group of local high school seniors are getting an early introduction to a possible career choice. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, by simply building a robot, the students are getting firsthand knowledge of engineering.

HUDSON FALLS, N.Y. – While most American 17- and 18-year-olds grow up with a joystick in their hands, members of the BOCES New Visions Engineering Class have found using it to control an actual robot is easier said than done.

The 11 seniors from various North Country school districts are preparing for an upcoming robotics competition in New York City.

"The goal of it is to basically get as many points by putting rings on pegs," said Jessica Lord of Glens Falls, one of two girls in the class.

"It took a few different trials to get it to work right,” Queensbury senior Paul Amengual said. “But it's definitely been cool and we're looking forward to the competition in a couple of weeks."

The class at the Southern Adirondack Education Center is for students interested in studying engineering who are looking for a challenge their senior year. In addition to taking college level math and science, they've been tasked with designing and building the robot themselves.

"It's completed student self-directed,” said teacher Daniel Kittell. “They're designing the mechanical parts of the robot, they're designing the computer programming component to the robot and it's completely from the ground up."

"We built four or five different prototypes before we got this, which works most of the time," said Meghan Hendricks, who attends Fort Edward High School.

It's the hands-on, trial and error component that Kittell believes provides the students the most realistic insight to a career in engineering.

While there's still time to make that choice, most of the students seem to have their minds made up.

"My school doesn't offer any courses like this. It's a small school district,” Hendricks said. “So coming here actually made it better going to college."

"I don't think most kids our age build robots,” said Lord. “So it's kind of cool."

The competition is scheduled for January 27th at Pace University.

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