We apologize for the confusion regarding the FIRST Robotics Competition event listings on our website. All final confirmed dates and locations will be posted on the appropriate webpages by the Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, January 19th.

January 2021
Hear FIRST!
A quarterly newsletter to keep you informed. Dig it.


Did you miss us?
It's a brand new quarter and a brand new newsletter! 
And it's more fun than an armadillo on a motorboat.
This Year is a Game Changer
The FIRST GAME CHANGERS powered by Star Wars: Force for Change season is underway! And as always there is important news to share- New Venues, Town Halls, Chesapeake Chats, Mentor Training for 2021, Volunteer Registration, Calendar of Events, Hails and Farewells, and more- whew!!

So grab your roller skates- and keep reading for these topics and more.

And please pass this newsletter on to teams, parents and students.
(a web link is at the top of this email- the "click here")
To subscribe to the newsletter, just fill out this form.
FIRST Chesapeake Chats
We are happy to announce that our FIRST Chesapeake Chats Sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding are continuing into spring 2021.

These 30 minute sessions cover a wide variety of topics that range from useful season information, to hands-on robotics instruction, to enlightening thoughts and advice about internships and STEM occupations.
New this year is the Today's Women in STEM Series Sponsored by Leidos - featured the first Thursday each month through March 2021. These sessions will provide insight and inspiration from leading female STEM professionals about their careers, aspirations, and challenges.

Click here to see the current schedule as well as the archive of past sessions
Click here for the FIRST Chesapeake Twitch link

Mentor Training in January and February 2021

FIRST Chesapeake is pleased to offer three free professional development workshops for current and potential mentors and volunteers in partnership with MENTOR Virginia.

These on-line, interactive, professional development workshops will be available in January and February 2021. (Due to demand, the January 23rd Workshop will be repeated on February 9th. Please only register for one of these days.) Use the links below to register for the workshops. Space is limited, so register early.

FIRST Tech Challenge Volunteers Needed

FTC Volunteer Registration is now open! Apply here to volunteer for the upcoming season. To learn more about our exciting opportunities, visit the volunteer roles section of our website.
New Competition Venues for 2020-21

Because schools were unable to host competitions this season, FIRST Chesapeake reached out to communities in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia for venue suggestions. The results were some pretty cool hosting partnerships for this year. Please be sure to thank these site hosts for their generosity and support. If it weren’t for them, we would not have been able to offer any hybrid competitions in the coming months.

Shenandoah Caverns. The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns has over 5,000 square feet of space, so it’s perfect for keeping our teams safe and socially distanced. Located just 2 minutes from Interstate 81, Shenandoah Caverns includes caverns full of stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone, as well as an antique automobile exhibit. Tours of the caverns are available year-round and other local attractions, such as the Route 11 Chip Factory, the Meem’s Bottom Covered Bridge (the longest covered bridge in Virginia!), and the Shenandoah Valley Cultural Heritage Museum, are within 10 miles of the venue. 

Keystone Truck and Tractor Museum. Located about 20 minutes South of Richmond off Interstate 95 in Colonial Heights, Virginia, this museum is home to 70,000 square feet of antique cars, trucks, farm equipment, and more. They even have a restored Lamborghini tractor in their collection! The museum also has a restaurant that serves delicious home cooked food 7 days a week. 

Greenebaum Enterprises. This 30 year old real estate company that is engaged in the development and acquisition of office, retail, residential and large-scale mixed-use properties has generously made space available within their Maple Lawn Community this season. Maple Lawn includes many places to shop and eat, as well as live and work.  

Kroger Fairlawn Plaza. More than 13,000 square feet of event space gives both FRC and FTC teams plenty of room to spread out and stay safe. This event space was made possible in part through the efforts of the Pulaski, Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Be sure to check out their website for places to shop and eat and things to see and do, including the New River Trail State Park, Thee Draper Village, and many bluegrass-related musical venues. 
Upcoming Events Calendar
Here are some upcoming* FIRST and STEM-related events. Click through the links for more information or visit the FIRST Chesapeake Events Calendar for even more event listings.

*subject to change
Hails and Farewells
Longtime FIRST Chesapeake volunteer, Stephanie Lockhart, is stepping back from the FRC Senior Judge Advisor position. Having volunteered in many capacities with FIRST for approximately 20 years, Stephanie has been instrumental in making FIRST Chesapeake what it is today.

Stephanie has recently retired from Lockheed Martin Corporation and is looking to spend more time with her family and pursue other interests. She has promised to stay involved with FIRST Chesapeake - in a much less intensive role - moving forward.

Leighann Boland, FIRST Chesapeake Executive Director said, "Stephanie has been an incredible force behind the scenes at FIRST Chesapeake for many years. Her dedication, good humor, and knowledge of all things FIRST has made all of our jobs so much easier. We are especially appreciative of the many hours that she has put into the judging program and wish Stephanie the best in 2021...After dedicating her Fall and Winter to FIRST Chesapeake for so many years, she certainly deserves a little free time!"

Scholarship Opportunity

Roanoke College invites applications for FIRST® RCROBOTS Fellows. Fellows will join RCROBOTS (Roanoke College Robotics Outreach Builds Opportunities Through Service), working to bring STEM and robotics learning opportunities to youth throughout the Roanoke Valley. Fellows may coach, mentor, volunteer, promote, organize, or lead in a variety of robotics opportunities, fitting each student’s individual interests. Students of all majors and career goals are welcome. An enthusiasm for working with kids and playing with robots is the “major” requirement!

The FIRST Fellows program provides a $1,000 per year renewable fellowship to all students selected. Twelve fellowships are available for students beginning at Roanoke College in Fall 2021.

More information, eligibility requirements, and application links may be found here: https://www.roanoke.edu/admissions/selective_programs/fellows_program/robotics_fellows
 
For any questions, please contact Dr. Catherine Sarisky, sarisky@roanoke.edu

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