“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.
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 https://www.firstchesapeake.org/volunteer.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The 2020-21 season was a year like no other, but thanks to our corporate and community partners, FIRST Chesapeake was able to bring high quality STEM education leadership programs to 7,000+ middle and high school students in hundreds of school districts and communities throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Through the commitment, talent and enthusiasm of FIRST Chesapeake volunteers and the 2021 Alumni Ambassador Cohort Sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, FIRST Chesapeake was able to offer 11 hybrid/remote FTC qualifier competition events (the only FIRST District Partner in the country to do so). FIRST Chesapeake provided competition opportunities for 130+ FTC teams spanning the District while keeping teams, volunteers, corporate partners, and alumni engaged through virtual programming such as the FIRST Chesapeake Chats Sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding and the Reaching for the Stars: Women in STEM Program Sponsored by Leidos. Unfortunately, due to the impact of school closures and social distancing requirements, the FIRST Robotics Competition season was canceled for 2021, however, the majority of teams continued to meet remotely and build their skills in preparation for the 2021-22 academic year.
FIRST Chesapeake continued its partnership with NextUp RVA for the 2020-21 academic year. For the past six years, FIRST Chesapeake has provided equipment and mentoring for FTC programs in five middle schools in Richmond, VA. FIRST Chesapeake continued this commitment to serve Title I middle schools with after-school programming through virtual platforms using at-home robotics kits funded through a pilot program sponsored by Qualcomm. This pilot program also helped to bring at-home robotics virtual learning to students in three high schools in Washington, DC with funding provided by Qualcomm and Booz Allen Hamilton. Building on the success of this pilot program during the 2020-21 season, FIRST Chesapeake will be able to expand quality STEM programming to students learning in a virtual environment, especially those with limited financial means or with challenges to transportation or other access-limiting factors.
The 2020-21 season was also a banner year to celebrate women in STEM. Reaching for the Stars: FIRST Chesapeake Celebrates Women in STEM Sponsored by Leidos is an essential program, demonstrating to the thousands of young women involved in FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition teams in the District that they are seen, they are valued, and the FIRST Chesapeake community is committed to providing visible role models, Scholarships Sponsored by Dominion Energy, and encouragement as they enter STEM fields of study and careers.
Despite the remote nature of events and competitions this year, 260 FIRST Chesapeake volunteers donated more than 3,000 hours of volunteer service this year. And that doesn't include the volunteer hours donated by team mentors representing 440+ teams! Our teams and students benefit greatly from the dedication, hard work and expertise of the committed volunteer service at all levels of operations.
Alumni Ambassador volunteer efforts supported all areas of FTC competitions: judging (remote), media production assistance (on-site and remote), audience queuing (remote), judge queuing (remote), and live commentating (remote). As presenters and moderators during FIRST Chesapeake Chats, Alumni Ambassadors offered advice on making presentations or video editing and production, interviewed experts in STEM fields to provide live programs about career opportunities, and even presented on their own areas of expertise in graduate school and the workplace. Together, the Alumni Ambassadors provided over 300 hours of volunteer service. At the end of the season, 16 very deserving teams received $1,000 team grants awarded in honor of Alumni Ambassador volunteer service.
On behalf of the teams and volunteers, thank you for your continued support of FIRST Chesapeake Robotics and helping us to do what we do best--build tomorrow's technology leaders.
Katarina Spears Development Director FIRST Chesapeake
2021 Women in STEM Program Sponsored by Leidos
Alumni Ambassadors Presented Live Virtual Programs
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