STEM Leadership Programs for Youth in DC, MD, VA

by VirginiaFIRST
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STEM Leadership Programs for Youth in DC, MD, VA
STEM Leadership Programs for Youth in DC, MD, VA
STEM Leadership Programs for Youth in DC, MD, VA

Thank you for your continued support of FIRST Chesapeake through the 2022-2023 season. Here is a round-up of what has been going on and what we look forward to for the rest of the season.


FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Program

FIRST Tech Challenge continues to offer high quality STEM-based activities and competitions in the district. We had 212 teams register to compete, leading to an unprecedented 17 FTC in-person qualifying events and a final championship event that took place December 2022 to February 2023. Thank you to all who participated and we have already started planning the 2023-2024 FIRST Tech Challenge season.


FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)

The FIRST Robotics Competition season began in January and district competition planning is underway. Six district events and the District Championship will be in-person, free and open to the public in March and April 2023, and we’d love to have you join us to cheer on our future technology leaders at “the ultimate Sport for the Mind.”



Volunteers are the backbone of the FIRST Chesapeake programs and our success depends on their generosity of time and talent. We appreciate all the people who made the FIRST Tech Challenge qualifiers a success and look forward to working with everyone who has registered for FIRST Robotics Competition event roles!

We are always glad to welcome new volunteers for our FIRST Robotics Competition events- whether your skills are technical or not, all are needed, and we would love for you to join us.  A qualifying tournament in the FIRST Robotics Competition or the FIRST Tech Challenge can require up to 100 volunteers each day. The Championships need more than 120 volunteers, both technical and non-technical, per day. For more details go to:


Outreach and Partnerships

  • On February 14th, Leidos sponsored the fifth annual Reaching for the Stars: Women in STEM Breakfast Sponsored by Leidos. This inspirational event was attended by 55 people and celebrated the outstanding contribution of women in STEM, especially Dr. Julie Rosen, this year’s Reaching for the Stars: Outstanding Women in STEM Award winner. Over 50 very impressive young women applied and four scholarships, sponsored by Dominion Energy, were presented to young women on FIRST Chesapeake teams. Canon Virginia sponsored the robotics demonstration at the event. A video recording of the presentation can be viewed here.
  • FIRST Chesapeake also continues to work with its alumni pool to develop mentoring and team funding opportunities. For a third year, FIRST Chesapeake and Booz Allen Hamilton are partnering on the Alumni Ambassador program that will provides professional development training to 21 alumni and culminate in about $20,000 in pass-through grants to FIRST teams.
  • Since the fall FIRST Chesapeake has been broadcasting regular Virtual Town Hall meetings for teams, volunteers, and the whole FIRST Family, providing pertinent information and updates on the current and future seasons.


As always, we appreciate the support of individuals and corporations who help us continue to do what we do best - build a strong and engaged community of future technology leaders in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Thank you again - donors, volunteers, mentors, teachers - for partnering with FIRST Chesapeake.


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We are excited to share with you the upcoming season for FIRST Chesapeake, a regional competition for elementary, middle, and high school students. This year, we anticipate reach over 8,000 students and 2,000 adult volunteers across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Through FIRST Chesapeake, students have the opportunity to participate in workshops, build and compete with robots, and learn from industry professionals. This is an incredible opportunity for children to develop their STEM skills, gain confidence, and make lasting friendships.

Support from donors like you to make this season possible! Your financial contribution will help us cover the cost of materials, travel, and other expenses associated with competition.

Our 2022-2023 Season is back to in person events!  This years events are listed below and, in addition to your support, we hope you will consider attending one our our events!

FIRST Technical Challenge

The FIRST Technical Challenge (FTC) program is a great way for FIRST Chesapeake students to get involved in STEM learning and competition. Through this program, students design, build, and program robots to compete in tournaments. Not only does this provide valuable hands-on experience, but it's also a ton of fun! The program is always in need of funding to help cover the costs of supplies and equipment, so any support from donors is greatly appreciated.

There are 15 events in the 2022-2023 FTC Season!

FIRST Robotics Challenge

The FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC) is a competition season organized by FIRST Chesapeake that pits teams of high school students against each other in engineering challenges. Students have to design and build a robot to compete in various tasks, such as moving objects or shooting balls into targets. The competition season culminates in a large tournament where the best teams from around the region compete against each other.

The FRC competition season is a great way to get high school students interested in engineering and robotics. It's a fun and competitive environment where students can showcase their skills. The competition season also relies heavily on volunteers, so it's a great way to give back to the community.

There are six events included in the 2023 FRC Season!

Women in STEM

Annual Women in STEM Scholarships are Sponsored by Dominion Energy. These scholarships will be awarded to three outstanding high school juniors and seniors who identify as women and who are currently registered with a FIRST team in the FIRST Chesapeake District (FTC or FRC in DC, Maryland, and Virginia). Finalists will be notified no later than December 16, 2022 and will attend an interview with the selection committee in early January 2023. Scholarship recipients will be notified no later than January 20, 2023.

Scholarships will be presented at the annual Reaching for the Stars: Women in STEM Breakfast Sponsored by Leidos in February 2023. 

FIRST Alumni Ambassador Program

The FIRST Chesapeake Alumni Ambassador program provides an opportunity for alumni of the FIRST Robotics Competition to give back to the next generation of FIRST Robotics Competition teams. Alumni Ambassadors serve as mentors and role models, providing guidance and support to teams as they prepare for competition. The program helps to ensure that teams are able to compete at their highest level and provides an opportunity for alumni to stay connected to the FIRST community.

Thank you for your consideration and we hope you will join us in supporting the students of FIRST Chesapeake.

Robotics team members setting up
Robotics team members setting up
Cheering on the teams
Cheering on the teams


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Friends, thank you for your continued support of FIRST Chesapeake.

This past year had its share of challenges, but also joys and successes. As we enter the summer months, here is a wrap up of the 2021-2022 season.

We have just finished compiling our annual press binder. We are pleased with the coverage of our organization and teams, and hope you enjoy it as well. 

Here are some fun facts that show how your support has helped FIRST Chesapeake continue to grow over the past year.

  • 9,000 - total number of individuals at the FIRST Chesapeake District Championships Sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding at the Hampton Coliseum
  • 114 FRC and 272 FTC registered FIRST Chesapeake teams = 6,000+ of the best and brightest middle and high school students in Virginia, DC, and Maryland
  • 20 hybrid competitions
  • 4 FTC Remote Kick Offs and scrimmages
  • 3 FRC Remote Kick Offs
  • 2 FIRST program Expos - free to the public - with over 600 visitors
  • 2 remote competitions
  • 1 combined public FTC and FRC Championship Sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding
  • $17,000 in team grants as part of the Alumni Ambassador program
  • 500+ Title 1 middle and high school students in Richmond and the District of Columbia directly impacted through the GEARED Up robotics program
  • 90+ new FLL and FTC team members in under-resourced communities in the New River Valley
  • 13,120 event volunteer hours
  • $392,944 value of event volunteer time
  • 99,641 live feed competition views
  • 36,965 hours of live feed views. (That translates to 4.2 years of viewing!)

Our FIRST Chesapeake community is an incredible assembly of thousands of dedicated and creative individuals, without which our growth and impact would not be possible.  We are grateful for our volunteers, donors, and sponsors, and we thank YOU for all that you are doing to help build tomorrow's technology leaders!

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Alumni Ambassador Volunteering at an FTC Event
Alumni Ambassador Volunteering at an FTC Event

FIRST has helped me grow in ways I have never thought possible. I attribute a majority of my accomplishments in life to the experiences gained while participating in the program.”

                          ~ FIRST Chesapeake 2022 Alumni Ambassador~


Thank you for being a part of the FIRST community!

We are mid-season and are happy to report our STEM education leadership programs are thriving.

Since our last report, the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) season began on January 8th with Kickoff and Kit Pick Up Sponsored by InSource Solutions.  One hundred twelve teams are working hard to build their robots in anticipation of the district events beginning in March.

An impressive 266 teams competed in the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) qualifier season for 2021-2022, which ended on February 6th. Teams attended a record 16 events (2 of which were remote) across the district.  

Here are some other highlights:

  • The Alumni Ambassador Program sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton is back for a 3rd year. Eighteen Alumni Ambassadors are serving as the 2022 cohort of this program which is designed to inspire FIRST alumni to remain engaged as volunteers, mentors, and advocates and to train for more complex volunteer roles. Each Ambassador who completes the requirements of the program will be eligible for a $1,000 team grant to a FIRST team of their choice. Team grants are also sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton.
  • In November 2021 FIRST Chesapeake received over 40 applications for the fourth annual Reaching for the Stars: Women in STEM Scholarships sponsored by Dominion Energy. Four  outstanding young women associated with FIRST teams were selected to receive scholarships which will be presented on May 3, 2022 at the fourth annual Women in STEM Breakfast sponsored by Leidos and hosted at the Leidos headquarters in Reston, Virginia.
  • To mark the occasion of our first large scale championship in three years, FIRST Chesapeake will offer double the excitement by hosting the FIRST Tech Challenge Championship in tandem with the FRC District Championship April 8- 9, 2022 at the Hampton Coliseum (Hampton, VA), both sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding.
  • Upcoming Scheduled Events

We are always glad to welcome new volunteers—whether your skills are technical or not, all are needed, and we would love for you to join us in 2022. A robotics event requires many volunteers- for more details visit

As always, we appreciate the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations who help us continue to do what we do best—building tomorrow’s technology leaders, today.

Team members high-fiving at an event
Team members high-fiving at an event


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FIRST Programs Expo
FIRST Programs Expo

The 2021-2022 season has begun, and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams, composed of over 7,000 middle and high school students in hundreds of school districts and communities throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, have begun the process of registering and preparing for competition.

Thanks to our corporate and community partners, VirginiaFIRST dba FIRST Chesapeake is hard at work planning another year of high-quality STEM education leadership programs.

Here are some highlights:

  • Since the spring, FIRST Chesapeake has been holding Town Hall Meetings Sponsored by Accenture Federal Services for teams and volunteers in our District to disseminate information and answer any questions that they may have. These have been very fruitful, with increased understanding and a great exchange of ideas.
  • FIRST Chesapeake is hosting FIRST Programs Expos in August and September to showcase FIRST programs and teams to the public, as well as inform people about volunteering or starting a robotics team. The August Expo at the Keystone Antique Truck and Tractor Museum delighted and enlightened many museum-goers, and we expect the Sept. 11th event at the Science Museum of Western Virginia to do the same.
  • From August to October FIRST Chesapeake is offering a free three-part series to mentors and volunteers that is designed to help deliver a truly inclusive experience to teams and fellow volunteers. "Conversations for Change" Sponsored by Qualcomm offers strategies to develop healthier and more rewarding experiences for all.
  • FIRST Chesapeake is in the process of scheduling FTC and FRC competitions. More news on this in early fall!
  • The FTC season will begin September 18th with the unveiling of this season’s game, FREIGHT FRENZY, at the FTC Kickoff, Game Reveal, and Meet the Field Sponsored by InSource Solutions. The event will take place at three locations in Central VA, Metro DC, and Western MD, with remote viewing available to teams and the public.
  • All FIRST program volunteers and potential volunteers are invited to attend a Virtual FIRST Volunteer Town Hall on Sept 21st, hosted by FIRST Chesapeake. Leadership from FLL Explore, FLL Challenge, FTC, and FRC will be present to give updates and answer questions. A Virtual FIRST Volunteer Open House is scheduled for October for further program-specific discussions.
  • The FIRST Chesapeake Chats Sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding will be back for the 2021-2022 season, bringing more interesting and informative information for the whole FIRST Chesapeake Family in 30-minute increments.

As always, we appreciate the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations who help us continue to do what we do best - build a strong and engaged community of future technology leaders in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Thank you.

FIRST Programs Expo
FIRST Programs Expo


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Organization Information


Location: Richmond, VA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @firstchesapeake
Project Leader:
Leighann Boland
Richmond, Virginia United States
$13,000 raised of $25,000 goal
232 donations
$12,000 to go
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