We are StuyPulse, Stuyvesant High School’s award-winning FIRST Robotics team. Otherwise known as Team 694, we seek to impact young adults by cultivating skills in engineering, programming, marketing, teamwork, and leadership through the FIRST competitions. At the same time, we hope to educate and inspire people in our community, both young and old, about the wonders of science and technology.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a multi-national non-profit organization that, in the words of its founder, Dean Kamen, seeks to “transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes.” Through partnerships with local and global businesses, dedicated volunteers with professional backgrounds, and the tireless efforts of students, teachers, and parents, FIRST opens a whole new world for generations of young adults and equips them with the skills to achieve success.
As of now Team 694 is comprised of approximately 100 Stuy students and participates annually in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). During our six week build season we work almost daily in our laboratory at Stuyvesant as dedicated team members design, construct, and program our competing robot with the help of gracious parents and volunteer mentors.
However our efforts do not end with the competition season; we strive to share our experience with anyone in need of help. To this end we mentor other teams and schools both in FRC and in FIRST’s other competitions such as the First Tech Challenge and FIRST Lego League, as well as performing street-level demos in our and school. We also frequently create community-driven projects like FIRSThoughts with the goal of uniting all the teams of FIRST to even the playing field and make it easier for rookie teams to become a part of the competition and community that has changed each and all of our lives.
Team 694 has had an impact not only on the community of which we are a part, but also on us: the members of our team. In the past several years nearly every senior president of engineering has been accepted into MIT. Every one of our seniors continue their educations in college, and the majority are accepted into the top 25 universities and even the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the country. To help perpetuate this high standard, we all help to drive one another to do better in school and help each other out when aid is needed.
Our team was founded in the fall of 2000 by a forward-looking group of dedicated students and parents. Although few on the team had known each other prior to forming the team, we shared a common interest in robotics and were ready to take on the formidable task of building our first robot. The team quickly learned the importance of cooperation and teamwork as we rallied together team members, sponsors, and mentors, as well as raising the initially daunting entrance fees to the FIRST competition. Our robot scored the highest in its division at the Championship Event making Team 694’s rookie year an immense success as well as a jumping board to our exciting career as a FIRST team.
One of the things that Team 694 takes pride in is our overwhelming diversity. Our team of approximately 100 members is made up of over one-third females, and half of the team members were either born outside of the United States or are children of first generation immigrants.
Team 694 is a championship team. We won the Regional Chairman’s Award at the South Florida Regional in 2017, and were regional champions and won the Engineering Inspiration Award at the NYC Regional in 2016. We were also the sub-division champions of the Curie Subdivision at World Championships in 2016.
Stuyvesant High School, a.k.a. “Stuy”, one of New York City’s specialized high schools for math and science, has demonstrated a tradition of excellence for over a century. Entrance is based on a rigorous and competitive test called the SHSAT; over 26000 students take the exam every year and only about 900 are admitted to attend Stuy.
Totaling over 3200 students from all five city boroughs and diverse international backgrounds, Stuy is located in a modern, ten-story building in Lower Manhattan, having been relocated from the original building on East 15th Street in 1992.
A large part of StuyPulse’s mission is to help spread the message of FIRST via newspapers, TV - any way it can. The local paper The TriBeCa Tribune and the Chinese-language paper China Daily have done segments of our team during the build season. We also make regular appearances in our own school newspaper, The Spectator. At demonstrations and other events we’ve been interviewed by radio and television stations in Arabic, Russian, and of course English. Our 2009 robot, Michael 1, and our 2010 robot, Donovan, have made several appearances in newspapers and TV programs. Our mentor/adviser Rafael Colón was even chosen as the New Yorker of the Week by NY1, a local television station, and was shown on their channel for an entire week. We demonstrated Rafael, our 2017 robot, and DEStiny, our 2016 robot, at Fox&Friends for the past two years. StuyPulse has also made appearances in renowned magazines such as Popular Mechanics and produces high-quality videos which can be viewed on our Youtube channel.