RAHWAY — Stevens Institute of Technology recently awarded a FIRST merit scholarship to Ryan Secor because of his involvement with the Rahway High School US FIRST Robotics Team 1228.
Secor plans to major in Mechanical Engineering and is considering a minor in Naval Engineering. He has chosen Stevens because of its strong mechanical engineering program and its top rated co-op program. He is the second member of the Rahway High School Team 1228 to win a USFIRST scholarship from Stevens Institute, joining teammate Robert Dinocento in receiving this honor.
Secor attends the Academy for Information Technology School in Scotch Plains, but as a Rahway resident he participates in Rahway High School’s Robotics Team. He has been involved in the program since he was a student at Rahway Middle School, where he was on the Botball Team and also used to visit Rahway High School after school during the robot build season. Participation in US FIRST Robotics has made Secor aware of practical aspects of mechanical engineering and helped him learn how to create a competitive edge, a valuable skill when he joins the work force.
Each year in January, a 45-day build season begins. During that period the robotics teams throughout the country build a robot that fits the requirements for that year’s competition. Since his sophomore year, Secor has been the captain of Team 1228 and served as the lead builder. Secor was also responsible for some of the behind-the-scenes work required when applying for grants, for setting up the team registration and for the delivery of the robot to the competitions.
For the last four years, Secor has faced a time challenge because he has also pitched for the Rahway High School Junior Varsity and Varsity baseball teams. Baseball spring training typically starts at the same time that the first Robotics tournament takes place. He is grateful to the baseball coach and the robotics instructors for having worked with him during scheduling conflicts. On many occasions Secor would go to baseball practice at 8 a.m. on a Saturday and then directly to the robotics shop in his practice outfit, working on the robot until the custodial staff would ask the team to leave so that they might close the building at the end of the day.
Secor found that his background in FIRST was definitely a plus in college admissions since colleges look for well-rounded students. In support of the US FIRST mission, many colleges offer FIRST Scholarships. The Stevens scholarship is merit-based and awarded to a high school senior who has participated on a FIRST team during his or her junior and/or senior years and plans to study engineering, science, or math at Stevens. The scholarship is renewable up to a total of $24,000 over four years, contingent upon maintenance of good academic standing. Secor was also awarded the Edwin A. Stevens Scholarship for $36,000 payable over four years. This scholarship is given to students who have a demonstrated record of excellence in high school as evidenced by GPA, class rank, SAT scores, and recommendations.
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