May 14, 1999

William Floyd Students Create a Robot With Help From a Brookhaven Lab Retiree

Students and teachers from William Floyd High School dazzle spectators at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory with a hand-made robot that can lift objects as high as eight feet and carry them to a specific destination. The students designed and built the robot for a national robotics contest sponsored by a nonprofit foundation called For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST. William Floyd was among the 336 high school teams from across the U.S. who competed in regional contests.

While they didn't win the contest, the William Floyd High School team's interest in science and technology was sparked by creating the robot, thanks to the inspiration and technical expertise provided by their teachers and Donald Gardner of Bellport, a retired Brookhaven Lab engineer who volunteered to help the students with the project. The students are looking forward to competing in next year's contest.

(From left) Dennis Fidotta, William Floyd High School (WFHS) Technology Director; Louise Hanson, an education specialist from Brookhaven Lab's Office of Educational Programs who coordinated the volunteer effort and robot demonstation at the Laboratory; Donald Gardner; Chris Ryon, WFHS science teacher; Rory O'Fee and JoAnna Cohen, two of about a dozen WFHS students who participated in the robotics contest; and Michael Whelan, a WFHS technology teacher, show off the robot to spectators in Brookhaven's Berkner Hall.

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