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Dec 16 2011

NYIT Students Mentor All-Girl Robotics Team

Old Westbury, N.Y. (December 16, 2011) – NYIT students in the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences gathered with an all-girl robotics team to offer advice on programming a robot for an upcoming competition.

Students in NYIT’s chapter of the IEEE Club (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) helped the team of teens from five high schools on Long Island figure out how to make a robot perform activities efficiently. At one point, the NYIT students showed the visitors that adding a magnet in the right place could improve performance. The mentors also offered programming ideas and design critique.

“We wanted to get a more sophisticated look at our programming to meet all sides of the equation,” said Caeley Looney, a tenth grader from Farmingdale High School, during her Dec. 9 visit to NYIT-Old Westbury.

The groups were connected by NYIT alumnus Steve Kitchener (B.S. ’91), facilities manager at Cablevision, who heads the robotics team with his wife Diane. The team, called Icebreakers, is preparing to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge in January 2012. It brings students in ninth through twelfth grades together to design, build, and program robots to compete in activities. Winners receive college scholarships.

NYIT senior John Kozintek, vice president of IEEE, noted that robotics work requires plenty of skills. He was happy for a chance to help the high schools students discuss ideas, then put the most practical ones to use.

“The engineering students were able to take all of the knowledge they learned in the classroom and help others with that knowledge,” said Dan Rapka, mechanical engineering lab instructor at NYIT.

The Kitcheners are encouraging girls and women to explore the real-world applications of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). NYIT is leading an effort to increase participation by girls and women in these fields by holding camps for high school students, seminars for college students, and lectures by women who are prominent in STEM-related industries.

The Kitcheners’ daughter, Brianna, said she learned a lot from working with the NYIT students. 

“I don’t feel a disadvantage against boy teams because girls are just as smart as them,” she added. 

About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in more than 90 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has more than 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 89,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit



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