STEP Academy @ City Tech Team Takes Third Place in Statewide Robotics Competition

Brooklyn, NY — A team of local high school students enrolled in New York City College of Technology’s (City Tech’s) pre-college programs won third place at the first statewide Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP) Robotics Competition, held during the 14th Annual STEP Statewide Conference in Albany.

The City Tech team celebrates its success. Standing, from left to right: Prof. Andy Zhang, students Raymond Yap, Thomas Dickson, Adrian Ayuso, Ramatoulaye Sagna and Eduardo Arguello, and Prof. Iem Heng. Front row, kneeling: administrator Edna Padillo and student Fritzpatrick Roque.

The STEP Academy @ City Tech, the college’s newest grant-funded program for Brooklyn middle and high school students, sponsored its first robotics team, the Constructive Robeemakers. Its members attend STEP Academy classes on Saturdays at City Tech, and are also full-time students at Science Skills Center High School for Science, Technology and the Creative Arts in Downtown Brooklyn.

Members of the team and the positions they held included Rama Sagna, mechanical engineer; Adrian Ayuso, electrical engineer; Eduardo Arguello, computer engineer; and Tiara Mills, industrial engineer/designer.

Despite formidable odds, this year’s robotics team came in third after working closely with the academy’s staff (Ivonne Barreras and Edna Padillo), two City Tech faculty members (Professors Andy Zhang and Iem Heng) and two college mentors, who were supported by Principal Judy Henry of Science Skills Center High School and its Math Assistant Principal Edison Teano. The development of this award-winning project included students conducting research, designing their entry and building it, and writing an abstract for the competition. They competed against 11 teams from other NYS STEP programs.

“I am extremely proud of Adrian, Eduardo, Rama and Tiara because they demonstrate what policymakers, educational researchers and practitioners understand to be the value pre-college experiences have on self-motivation, determination and college readiness,” says Barreras, director of the Office of Collaborative Pre-College Programs. “It is through educational partnerships like the one that funds The STEP Academy that students gain early entry into college and earn their college degrees.”

The academy prepares students to enter college and improve their participation rates in science, mathematics, technology, engineering and the licensed professions.  At City Tech, the initiative is currently in its first year of a five-year implementation plan — which is being funded by the College, the New York State Education Department and the New York City Department of Education — to increase the number of Latinos who graduate from college and become math teachers.

The academy is under the aegis of City Tech’s Office of Collaborative Pre-College Programs, and offers select Brooklyn high school students various pre-college experiences, including college awareness, academic readiness and test preparedness programs through 12-week Saturday courses. The goal is to help parents and students from underrepresented groups

participate in high-quality pre-college experiences that will help them to better prepare for academic success, earn college credits and make a smooth transition to college life.

For more details about the The STEP Academy @ City Tech, visit or or call Ivonne Barreras, director, Office of Collaborative Pre-College Programs, at 718.260.5216.

New York City College of Technology (City Tech) of The City University of New York (CUNY) is the largest public college of technology in New York State. Located at 300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, the College enrolls more than 16,000 students in 62 baccalaureate, associate and specialized certificate programs.