November 2016
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed. Dig it.

         Looking for news just about your program? Click the name below.*

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Did you miss us?
It's a brand new month and a brand new   newsletter! 
And it's more exciting than massaging porcupines .  

Having Fun Yet?  

Things are moving now! We have many great things  to share- Event Reviews, Grant Awards, Alumni Mingle pics, a Volunteer Spotlight, Upcoming events, calls for Volunteers,   and more- whew !!

So hold on to your teaspoons-  a nd 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.

Have you given to the Annual Fund? 
Your generosity will help us continue to build tomorrow's technology leaders in DC, Maryland and Virginia. 

It's easy to make your tax deductible contribution. 

ftcFTC Events Review: Build-A-Bot and SW Scrimmage
Click here to see photos and read more about the Build-A-Bot (Mechanicsville, VA) and the Southwest Scrimmage (Bristol, VA), both of which were held on October 29th.

Raytheon Awards Grants to 2 Hampton Roads High School FRC Teams 

Raytheon, a VirginiaFIRST "Friend of the Future" sponsor, has awarded grants to FIRST Robotics Competition Team 2363, Triple Helix, from Menchville High School and Team 2890, The Hawk Collective, from Hickory High School. 

The grants will help the teams cover a variety of costs in support of their participation this competition season. The "Friend of the Future" sponsorship will also help fund VirginiaFIRST competitions and events in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.  

Although this is Raytheon's first year supporting VirginiaFIRST teams in the Hampton Roads area, they have supported and continue to support STEM programs and exhibits in our community and many others.  
Off-Season and Upcoming Events Calendar
Here are some upcoming FIRST and STEM-related events. Click through the links  for more information or visit the FIRST Chesapeake calendar
  • Nov 19- FRC Workshop (VCU, Richmond, VA)
  • Dec 12- FRC Workshops (George Mason HS, Falls Church, VA)
  • Jan 7- FRC Kickoff (District of Columbia; Hampton Roads, VA; VCU, Richmond, VA)

Learn more about volunteering with FIRST Chesapeake here.
All participants in VirginiaFIRST / FIRST Chesapeake competitions, including teams (students, coaches and/or mentors) and volunteers, must fill out the 2016-17 season VirginiaFIRST Consent and release form before attending/participating in events.

This includes both the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) program in Virginia and FIRST  Robotics Competition (FRC) program in DC, MD and VA.

We are happy to tell you that the form is now available online for your convenience. And as an added bonus, as each student submits the form, his/her coach will receive an automated confirmation of that student's form completion, so long as the student put the coach's email address on the form.

Coaches: please share this form link with your team members, and please make sure they all know your email address.

A limited number of paper forms will be available at events, but we strongly urge participants to complete the online form ahead of time or print and bring a paper copy to your initial event.

*Please note- whether online or paper, minors' forms require the signature of a parent or guardian.*

FRC Kickoff Reminder  

Reminder- Kit and Kickoff Registration closes on Monday 11/21/16.  This is the deadline for FIRST Robotics Competition teams to select a Local Kickoff location to pick up their Kickoff Kit and enter number of attendees for the Kickoff broadcast.
FRC Events Review:  IROC - - BAA Education Day
courtesy Wanderstock Photography

Dev Berry Photography

Click here to find out more about IROC and the BAA Education Day- both took place in October.

Major FIRST Chesapeake Sponsor, Newport News Shipbuilding, Continues to Give Back to FIRST Teams in Hampton Roads
Six Hampton Roads FTC teams received grants through Newport News Shipbuilding totaling $6,000 this Fall.

 "We are extremely grateful to Newport News Shipbuilding for their continued support. Over the last 12 months, they have given over $17,000 to directly support K-12 FIRST teams in Hampton Roads. Their exceptional commitment to their community, through both funding and volunteerism, has set the bar for other sponsors throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia", said FIRST Chesapeake Executive Director Stan Southworth.
We are still getting a few team payments at our old Science Museum office.  Please make sure your school bookkeeper or team non-profit organization changes our mailing address for registrations or other payments to:
Virginia FIRST / FIRST Chesapeake
8177 Mechanicsville Turnpike
Mechanicsville, VA 23111
Alumni Updates
It was great seeing so many of you at the Alumni Mingles!

FIRST Alumni from all over our District met this fall at 7 locations in DC, Maryland and Virginia. These events provided a chance to grab some food and catch up with old friends, make new connections, and meet some of the local sponsors.

Thank you to this year's sponsors for their generous support-  Anton Paar Orbitak ATK , and  U.S. Army.

Join the Alumni Association today so you will receive invitations for future events:

I look forward to hearing from you.

Julie Miller, FIRST Chesapeake/ VirginiaFIRST Alumni Coordinator  

College Park mingle
Blacksburg Mingle
Blacksburg Mingle

Volunteer Spotlight- Robert Mohr
Robert Mohr is a well-known FIRST volunteer in DC, Maryland, and Virginia- but he's not one for being in the spotlight!  We caught up with him recently and found out a bit more about him.
Robert Mohr
Robert Mohr

Tell us about your background and how to you got started with FIRST.

I'm a computer science & engineering grad of Ohio State University working at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Applied Physics Laboratory. I got involved in FIRST at Ohio State-at the time OSU FIRST Robotics provided mentors to three Columbus-area teams (677, 1014, and 1317). After I graduated I took two years off FIRST while getting a master's in Computer Science from JHU. I joined 888 for two years and then helped start team 4067 (when I finally won a rookie award). I worked with them for two years but no longer mentor a team.

Have you do other volunteer work with FIRST?

I volunteered as a judge at an FLL qualifier at APL in 2011, and continued with other Maryland qualifiers and the state championship. After a couple years I became one of the judge advisors at Maryland and Virginia/DC FLL events, and I tend to fill that role at 5-8 events every year, often including the Maryland and Virginia/DC championship events. I also do assorted other roles with FLL, like assigning teams to qualifiers in Maryland and serving on the global judging advisory committee. I received the 2013-2014 Maryland FLL Outstanding Volunteer Award and the 2015-2016 Virginia/DC FLL Outstanding Volunteer Award.

In 2012 I signed up as field assembly/disassembly and robot inspection at several FRC events. In 2013 I added assistant field supervisor, and in 2014 field supervisor, FTAA, and scorekeeper. In 2016 I became an FTA (Field Technical Advisor).

Wow! You've done so much- what is it that keeps you giving your time and expertise to FIRST?

I like volunteering for FIRST events because it's an entirely different challenge than I get at work. Also, my FIRST experience got me a couple different internships in college, one of which has been my career since college, and I want to give back.

~ Thank you Robert for speaking with us and for your continued service! ~
2016 Maryland Robotics Legislation
In January of this year, Delegate Reznik sponsored a bill in the Maryland General Assembly ( HB00115) to establish the Robotics Grant Program within the State Department of Education. This bill has since passed!
Besides providing grants to schools/non-profits affiliated with public schools, this program was also established to support existing and increase the number of new robotics programs in the state, and to require the Governor to provide at least $250,000 in the state budget.  The program will start July 1, 2017.
Delegate Reznik was inspired after attending a FIRST robotics competition in College Park in 2015.
According to the  Team 1389 web page, the exact details of the program will be ironed out over the next year, and teams will be able to apply for funding in the summer of 2017.

Watch the FIRST Chesapeake FIRST Family blog for updates as they become available.

Hails and Farewells
Alison hard at work, teaching a young visitor how to drive

Congrats to Alison Palmer for being named September VISTA of the month! She is a wonderful asset to our FIRST Family. 

Click here to read more.

Christina Lee and Bill Basl
Christina with Bill Basl- Director of AmeriCorp

Christina Lee
Christina speaking at NASA
On October 7th, HISTORY was MADE as AmeriCorps swore in their millionth member, and we are so incredibly  proud of Christina Lee for being an amazing ambassador for both FIRST and Vermont Conservation Corps!

Looking for FTC Qualifier Volunteers!

(and FRC Volunteers, but More on Those Later)

Attention all volunteers!  Now is the time to start thinking about how you want to be involved in this upcoming season of fun.  Both FTC and FRC will have multiple events across the state, and we'd love to see you at one (or more) of them.  Bring a friend!  We always have room for more help.
Take a look at your calendars, and see if you can join us at one of the December qualifiers:
Matoaca High School, Chesterfield
Battlefield High School, Haymarket
University of Virginia, Slaughter Rec Center, Charlottesville
To apply for any volunteer positions, click here
Questions?  Concerns?  Issues?  Helpful suggestions?  Contact Dee Tomczak at  

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