Student from New York, Shaan Merchant, wins Dean’s List Award at global STEM competition

Shaan Merchant. PHOTO: Twitter – a post on @shajahan, father of the winner.

Shaan Merchant, a high-school junior from Great Neck, NY won the prestigious Dean’s List Award at the FIRST World Robotics Competition in Houston, held this April. He was one of two Indian Americans on the top 10 students listed on the Deans List of winners, the other being Sanjith Udupa from Michigan.

Shaan Merchant, center, and his team set off their cheer at the April 17-22, FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston. PHOTO: Shajahan Merchant

The Dean’s List award is presented annually to ten exceptional high school students from around the world who have made significant contributions to their FRC team and community.

The award was presented to Shaan Merchant by FIRST founder Dean Kamen and CEO of FIRST, Chris Moore, during a special award ceremony at the 2023 FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston. PHOTO: William A Shine, Greatneck South High School

The award was presented by FIRST founder Dean Kamen and CEO of FIRST, Chris Moore, during a special award ceremony at the 2023 FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston, reported Shaan was present at the World Championships along with his teammates from Rebel Robotics, as the team qualified for the World Championships during a regional competition earlier in the season, Greatneck added.

“The mentors and teammates of Shaan are so proud of his accomplishments with Rebel Robotics,” John Motchkavitz, lead mentor for Team #2638, is quoted saying in the Greatneck news report. “His hard work and dedication is an inspiration to all involved with our program.”

“I am incredibly grateful to receive this award,” said Shaan Merchant. “I could not have achieved this without the guidance and support of my mentors Mr. Motchkavitz, Mr. Corrigan, Squeegee, Ms. Dressner, Ms. Fleishman, and Mr. Donlon, my fellow 2638 team members, my community, and my family,” he added, according to the Greatneck report.

According to a press release from FIRST, record-breaking crowds celebrated the Youth Robotics Teams & STEM Innovation at FIRST Championship, held in Houston. Indian American students featured in numerous categories, including in winning teams.

More than 18,000 students from 59 countries competed with Team-Built Robots and showcased their innovation skills.

During April 19-22, 2023, FIRST®, a robotics community “that prepares young people for the future,” brought together approximately 50,000 people from around the world as hundreds of student robotics teams put their innovation, teamwork, and robotics skills to the test at the 2023 FIRST Championship presented by BAE Systems, which took place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, a press release from FIRST said.

This year’s energy theme addresses global challenges related to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #7, focused on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.

The not-for-profit organization’s annual four-day event concluded Saturday, April 22, with robotics teams competing in “heart-pounding” match finals for the FIRST® Robotics Competition and FIRST® Tech Challenge international championships, in front of thousands of cheering fans.

Four teams from Madera, California; Champaign, Illinois; Ventura, California; and Guelph, Ontario, Canada, were the FIRST Robotics Competition Winning Alliance for this year’s game, CHARGED UPSM presented by Haas. Teams from Newbury Park, California; Bellevue, Washington; and Plainsboro, New Jersey, were the FIRST Tech Challenge Winning Alliance for POWERPLAYSM presented by Raytheon Technologies.

At FIRST Championship, 974 student robotics teams from 59 countries competed and exhibited across FIRST programs, and many FIRST® LEGO® League, FIRST Tech Challenge, and FIRST Robotics Competition teams earned honors for design excellence, competitive play, research, business plans, creativity, and teamwork. Many of Indian origin were in these teams.

Special guests at the 2023 FIRST Championship included Dean Kamen, FIRST founder and prolific inventor and other global leaders in business and innovation, the press release said.



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