Michelle Seger of Greece named Volunteer of the Year for Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Competition

Award given to recognize outstanding support for major annual high school event

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Michelle Seger accepts Volunteer of the Year from Richard Bryant at the 2009 Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics competition held at RIT.

Hosting nearly 50 teams of rowdy teenagers, their mentors, families and fans of robots at the 2009 Finger Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics Competition is not for the faint of heart. Coordinating the logistics and support personnel for this event March 6-7 at Rochester Institute of Technology, was Michelle Seger of Greece, N.Y., associate director of special events and conferences for the Office of Government and Community Relations at RIT. For her efforts, she was presented the Outstanding Volunteer Award at the recent competition.

“I couldn’t be more surprised. As the emcee started describing the recipient and I heard the word ‘logistics,’ I suddenly realized he was talking about me,” she says. “I am truly humbled to be presented with this award.”

Seger is part of the team that coordinates community events taking place on campus. Her role for the FIRST Robotics competition was to organize the event from set up to take down. It culminated nearly a year of planning with the event steering committee, community and corporate sponsors, high school representatives and campus officials.

“The enthusiasm that goes into and comes out of this event is contagious. While it can sometimes be a challenge to manage so many logistics and make sure all the behind-the-scenes bases are covered, the fact remains that this is an event that benefits thousands of high school students; you can’t help but want to do your best to make sure they experience a first-rate event while at RIT,” Seger says. “Seeing the excitement they feel while participating in the competition makes all the long days and months of planning worth it.”

“While very much behind the scenes, Michelle is integral to pulling together all the details required to implement this model regional competition,” says Cindee Gray, assistant vice president, Office of Government and Community Relations. “She continually goes above and beyond to make sure that every detail is in place for a seamless event. This is a prime example of Michelle’s outstanding efforts on behalf of RIT.”

Seger has participated in the planning in each of the five years RIT has been home to the regional FIRST Robotics Competition. Seger adds: “An event of this magnitude takes the commitment and enthusiasm of so many dedicated people. I feel honored, but I know there are so many other volunteers who are just as deserving of this recognition. I work with an immensely dedicated team, which makes it easy for me to do my job. It’s a great honor to be recognized by my peers on the planning committee.”

NOTE: For photograph, send request to macuns@rit.edu