On January 24th 6 students from FRC Team 1511, Rolling Thunder and 4 students from FRC Team 20, The Rocketeers, had planned on travelling to Albany NY to meet with Assembly person Jen Lundsford from Penfield NY, Assembly member Michael Benedetto, from the Bronx NY, who chairs the NYS Education Committee, as well as other members of the same committee. However Covid19 got in the way, so rather than travel the thruway we traveled the electron highway instead. Over zoom students educated member Benedetto on what FIRST is as well as what we do as teams. Both teams proudly shared not only our team histories but also what we do to support our communities as well as spread STEM throughout our respective communities. They also put our 2020/2021 robot through it’s paces to show him what it is capable of. Most importantly the students educated him on bill A1219. This is a bill submitted by Assembly member Harry Bronson who represents Rochester and areas south of the city. The bill would provide for the establishment of the For Inspiration of Science and Technology Robotics League Participation (“FIRST”) Grant Program. This would provide $250,000 in $5,000 grant blocks to help start and/or support struggling existing teams in New York State High Schools both public and private. While this is a new push for this bill there has been a history of work on this type of bill here in New York by many people including FRC Team 340, Glen Pearson, and retired State Senator Joseph Robach. To get a bill such as this passed in New York would be a great start to expanding FIRST in New York as well as providing a more accessible culture of Science and Technology for high school students across the state.

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