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Transportation is Theme of Junior FIRST Lego League Expo at UAlbany on Feb. 6

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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Lego team members

This year's Expo, hosted by the College of Computing and Information's Women in Technology program, features 16 teams of as many as six children per team, plus a team coach and mentors.

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 1, 2010) -- Elementary school children will have the opportunity to connect technology and the real world when the University at Albany's College of Computing and Information (CCI) and local businesses bring a Lego-inspired expo to the UAlbany Campus Center Ballroom on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 1 p.m.

The College will host its second Junior FIRST Lego League (JFLL) Expo, where faculty, staff, and students from CCI participate with teams of 6- to 9-year-old girls and boys from area schools to develop Lego-based projects around the transportation theme Smart Move. University at Albany President George M. Philip will kick off the event.

This year's Expo features 16 teams of as many as six children per team, plus a team coach and mentors comprising elementary school teachers, CCI students, and parents. The grade-schoolers will exhibit projects and posters demonstrating how Lego technology can be used to describe the complex transportation network, and how we can access people, places, goods and services in the safest, most efficient ways possible. Reviewers connected to the world of transportation, including the Acting Postmaster for Albany and representatives from the Hess Corporation and Loomis Armored Truck, will discuss the models and posters with the grade-schoolers. The teams will participate in a 3 p.m. award ceremony.

"The College of Computing and Information is thrilled to once again host the Junior FIRST Lego League Expo," said Jennifer Goodall, assistant dean and director of the College's Women in Technology (CCIWIT) program. "Kids of all ages, even young children like our team members here, benefit from opportunities to explore technology and science in a fun and safe environment. The Junior FIRST Lego League is one of these opportunities to let their creativity and excitement flourish."

The Legonators

The grade-schoolers will exhibit projects and posters demonstrating how Lego technology can be used to describe the complex transportation network.

"It's refreshing that children at such a young age have an interest in creativity and science," said Willa J. Bertrand, marketing executive at Hess Corporation and an event project reviewer. "These kids are our future, and it's exciting to see these sharp and engaged young minds involved in how we think about transportation and energy."

The expo is a result of a partnership of the College's Women in Technology program with KeyBank, the William Gundry Broughton Charitable Private Foundation, University Auxiliary Services, and Pitney Bowes Business Insight.

CCIWIT is dedicated to supporting, empowering, and building community among female faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students.  The program encourages girls in middle school and high school to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies in the fields related to computer science, informatics, and information science. As a result, CCIWIT initiatives are designed to address the critical need to bridge the achievement gap and increase access for women to enter the male-dominated computing and information technology fields.  In addition to diverse campus outreach programs, CCIWIT hosts a speaker series for Technology Leaders of Today and Technology Leaders of Tomorrow and provides opportunities for students to attend national IT conferences.

The JFLL program is designed by the company FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and LEGO for children 6 to 9 years old to introduce them to basic design skills and a hands-on approach to science and technology through the familiarity and fun of LEGO building.

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