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CCNY Students Host ‘First’ Lego League Qualifier January 24

Challenge Seeks Robotics Solutions to Transportation Issues

The Latin American Engineering Student Association Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (LAESA-SHPE) at The City College of New York (CCNY) will host the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Manhattan Qualifier, 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Sunday, January 24, in The Great Hall of Shepard Hall on the CCNY campus in Harlem.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), is an organization founded to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.  Over 146,000 children, ages 9 to 14 and in more than 50 countries participate in FIRST’s annual challenge.  This year FIRST is asking students to explore robotic solutions to issues in modern transportation through hands-on, minds-on teamwork revolving around the 2009 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge: “Smart Move.”

“Smart Move” is a two-part challenge.  In the Project phase of the challenge, teams identify a problem involving the way people, animals, information, or things travel in their community.  Then they create an innovative solution and share it outside the team.

In the robotics part of the challenge, teams confront today’s transportation safety and efficiency problems and apply robotics, sensor technology and fresh thinking to solve them.  Missions in the challenge include efficiency planning, object avoidance, climbing steep bridges with no guardrails, passenger transport and crash tests.

“’Smart Move’ gives kids a hands-on, real-world experience allowing them to use their imaginations and creativity in combination with science and technology, and lets them experience first-hand the very real and exhilarating struggle that world leaders and inventors face,” says Dean Kamen, FIRST founder.

For the second consecutive year, FIRST has teamed up with engineering students from LAESA-SHPE to bring the FLL Challenge to Manhattan.  Middle schools students participating in the qualifier will come to The City College campus to showcase their research and innovative ideas to help transform transportation.

This FLL Manhattan Qualifier is made possible with support from the University Transportation Research Center, The Grove School of Engineering civil engineering department and The City College of New York School of Education.

LAESA–SHPE is the largest and most recognized undergraduate student organization at The City College of New York.  Its founders were a dedicated group of students whose goals were to unite all Latino and minority students in engineering, share cultural ideas and promote leadership.  In 1985, they founded LAESA as a medium to achieve their goals.  Shortly after in 1991, LAESA joined forces with SHPE to better achieve these goals.  This partnership has continued to flourish over the years, and today LAESA is a firm supporter of the SHPE core values – education, professionalism and leadership – while still remaining true to its original mission.  With more than 100 members, LAESA-SHPE has been able to gather motivated students from all engineering disciplines and cultural backgrounds.

Elizabeth Vilchis, (914) 803-5342,



Ellis Simon
p: 212.650.6460