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Symposium showcases SUNY Poly student invention

By Traci DeLore (


SUNY Polytechnic Institute students Zachary Byrum (left) and Luke Handerhan (right) will showcase their scrub pad cutting invention at the CREATE Symposium in Albany later this month. (Photo Credit: SUNY Poly)

MARCY, N.Y. — A team of students from SUNY Polytechnic Institute will demonstrate their invention at New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID) 2023 CREATE (Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive Technology) Symposium on Monday, April 24 in Albany.

Senior mechanical-engineering students Zachary Byrum and Luke Handerhan will demonstrate their scrub pad cutter, which cuts raw scouring pad material into circles of varying diameters and roughness. Their invention facilitates the Arc Oneida-Lewis Chapter’s plan to employ up to five people with disabilities in its manufacturing area to produce scrub pads rather than purchase pads from an outside source.

A panel of community business leaders will evaluate and score the CREATE projects as student teams compete for prizes of $15,000, $10,000, or $5,000. This year’s symposium features 10 inventions from five colleges and six NYSID member rehabilitation organizations.

“The CREATE Symposium is all about making a significant impact on the lives of others,” NYSID CEO Maureen O’Brien said in a release. “It highlights what we do at NYSID and allows college students to create inventions to help individuals with disabilities become more employable. In New York state we still have a very high unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities and this shouldn’t be the case. Many individuals with disabilities are able to work and contribute to our state economy.”

The other colleges and agencies presenting at the symposium include the City College of New York and Goodwill Industries of Greater New York/Northern New Jersey, Inc.; Manhattan College and Constructive Partnerships Unlimited; New York Institute of Technology and AHRC Nassau; New York Institute of Technology and Spectrum Designs Foundation; and SUNY Albany and Center for Disability Services.

The symposium takes place Monday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in meeting room six of the North Concourse/Empire State Plaza.

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