Qualcomm has generously sponsored a pilot program in Southwest Virginia. This program will provide funding and local support to five or more under-resourced/ needs-based registered FLL and FTC teams beginning in late April 2021. Funds and support will also be provided to veteran FIRST Chesapeake FTC or FRC teams to act as peer-to-peer mentors. The goal of this program is to help grow a more sustainable pipeline of FIRST k-12 programs in Southwest Virginia. 
 
If you are an FLL or FTC team in or near the New River Valley region that is interested in registering or learning more about receiving support through this pilot program, please sign up here or email Tim Farmer, FIRST Chesapeake RISE Up Mentoring Manager, at . The deadline to register is March 20th, 2021.
 
If you are a veteran FTC or FRC team in Southwest Virginia that is interested in mentoring an FLL or FTC team, please reach out to the FIRST Chesapeake RISE Up Mentoring Manager, Tim Farmer, at . Peer-to-peer mentoring will begin in late Spring of 2021 and continue through the 2021-2022 academic year. In addition to local FIRST Chesapeake staff support and resources, select veteran teams or organizations will receive stipends for the 2021-2022 season.
 
The next RISE Up SWVA Mentoring On-Line Forum Sponsored by Qualcomm will be held in late April. This one-hour interactive forum includes updates regarding events and opportunities specific to Southwest Virginia, as well as a chance to meet other teams and mentors from the area. Please watch your emails and the FIRST Chesapeake website for a date and dial-in information coming in March.
Please join us at a Forum on Thursday, February 25th at 6:00pm to meet Tim Farmer, the new FIRST Chesapeake RISE UP (Robotics Inspired STEM Education) Mentor Manager SWVA - Sponsored by Qualcomm, and learn more about our new initiative. 
 
This program is a new peer to peer initiative in Montgomery, Giles, and Pulaski counties (VA) that will bring together mentors from veteran teams, as well as alumni, and the community to assist at least 5 rookie or struggling FIRST LEGO League or FIRST Tech Challenge teams. 
 
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://meetings.ringcentral.com/j/1482695719
 

Dear FIRST Chesapeake Family,

We are pleased to announce that Tim Farmer will be joining FIRST Chesapeake as the RISE (Robotics Inspired STEM Education) Up Mentor Manager for SWVA - Sponsored by Qualcomm.
 
This position will help support a new peer to peer initiative in Montgomery, Giles, and Pulaski counties (VA) that will bring together mentors from veteran teams, as well as alumni, and the community to assist at least 5 rookie or struggling FIRST LEGO League or FIRST Tech Challenge teams. 
 
Tim has been a science teacher for 15 and a half years, and a FIRST Tech Challenge coach and mentor for 2 and a half years. He earned a BS degree in Middle School Education from Emmanuel College and a Masters degree in Education from Liberty University.
 
He first got involved with FIRST through a local community center. Pulaski County Schools steered him to the FIRST program as they had students working on an FTC robot. From there he began coaching a high school and middle school team through the schools, and Tim says he truly enjoyed the experience.
 
Tim's spare time is spent with his family traveling around looking for Geocaches and biking on some of the trails they have in his area. If not doing this you will probably find him with a cup of coffee or herbal tea or a fishing rod depending on the weather.  
 
Please join us in welcoming Tim to the FIRST Chesapeake team.

 

 

We are enthused to bring you an installment of the "Women in STEM Spotlight Series Sponsored by Leidos." This series highlights women involved in the FIRST community in DC, Maryland and Virginia who are an inspiration for our program's young women and girls.


Name: Arlene Lantz

Place of Employment: Garrett County Board of

   Education

Job Title: K-8 Math and Technology Teacher

What is your specific job in STEM? How would you describe this job to young women and girls?

My STEM job is teaching math to all students (K-8) in our small rural community school. I have the pleasure of teaching the students all nine years of their K-8 schooling. It is very challenging to prepare for and teach 9 levels of math daily. However, it is very rewarding to be able to work very closely with the students to help them excel in all possible ways. Teaching STEM is a job of commitment, but it is also a job of passion and personal rewards when you see the future impacts you have made on students' lives! We need caring and concerned STEM teachers so I encourage you to consider a teaching career in STEM!

 

Who inspired you to choose a career in a STEM field? 

I had several middle school teachers who really challenged me to work harder, try new challenges, and to always do my best. I still stay in touch with several of my teachers! I started teaching math when I was a sophomore in high school. The boys sitting around me in Algebra class struggled to understand the Algebra teacher’s lesson. I would "reteach" it to the boys in a way they could get it. Numerous times the boys commented, "Why can't the teacher explain it like you do? I understand what you are saying." They appreciated the help, and it was rewarding to know that I could help my friends pass Algebra class! I have always enjoyed math, logical thinking, problem solving, and helping others. Great teachers can impact thousands of lives over their teaching careers!

 

What is the coolest thing about your job? 

After 30 years of teaching, I still love teaching math to my students. I love the challenge to reteach the math concept to a struggling student then when they get it and you see that lightbulb light up, it is very rewarding. I work hard to build my students’ confidence in math and to show them math can be fun! My teaching career has given me wonderful co-workers and friends who share the same values. My career in STEM has been to not only teach students academic skills but also to inspire them and help them discover and develop life skills. A teaching career gives you flexibility to develop and pursue your interests. I have had the opportunity to teach 3-4 weeks of summer technology camps to students. Teaching has given me opportunities to coach FIRST FLL, Jr., FLL, and FTC teams the past 16 years. If you love to learn and to inspire others, teaching is an awesome career, because I learn something new everyday!

 

What advice (big or little) would you give to a young woman or girl who might be interested in pursuing a career in STEM?  

I would encourage all young women who have a passion for STEM to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams! FIRST teams are a great opportunity to get involved with to develop STEM interests. Take advantage of local STEM teams and events to discover your talents and interest in STEM careers. I would also encourage young women to look for and apply for Women in STEM scholarships to help support her college expenses and look for colleges that have opportunities for women in STEM. Don’t dwell on which STEM field to pursue, start with an interest in college and keep your doors open and try a variety of classes to challenge you and explore your interests in college. Look for internships in a variety of companies to gain experience and to find your true passion. If you love your job, you will never have to work a day in your life!

 

What is the coolest thing that has happened while being involved (volunteering or mentoring) with FIRST?  

The coolest thing I have seen working with youth in FIRST programs is seeing youth develop successful life skills that they cannot learn from a textbook. I have seen shy, quiet students grow into confident public speakers through outreach events and team judging sessions. I have seen youth set team goals and work hard with the team to accomplish those goals. I have seen students develop leadership skills within their teams and with stepping up to mentor younger FIRST teams. Seeing these students pay forward the opportunities they have been given keeps me returning to volunteer and inspire others. I have also had the opportunity to meet some very amazing and inspiring people through my FIRST travels and event volunteering.

 

 

 We are enthused to bring you an installment of the "Women in STEM Spotlight Series Sponsored by Leidos." This series highlights women involved in the FIRST community in DC, Maryland and Virginia who are an inspiration for our program's young women and girls.


 

Angela (on the right) doing a demonstration

Name: Angela Moran

Place of Employment: just retired, U.S. Naval

   Academy, now supporting MD schools through

   Engineers on Deck

Job Title: Engineer, Engineering Professor

 

What is your specific job in STEM? How would you describe this job to young women and girls?

As a Materials and Manufacturing Engineer and Engineering Educator, I have made it a primary goal to support girls and women in engineering academic paths and STEM careers by providing camps, workshops, and internships specifically for them.

 

What types of obstacles have you overcome in your career? 

There can be a number of obstacles to a STEM career, but I like to look at them as challenges. Coursework can be very difficult , education costs can be overwhelming, breaking into established groups and institutions can be intimidating. The biggest hurdle is staying true to yourself and your aspirations despite contradictory or negative advice. Pushing yourself to not just look for opportunities but to take chances. Try new things, forget what your friends may say. To my college self, don’t be afraid to fail. When you fall the fastest and the hardest, you learn the most but only if you are willing to do so. Don’t blame others, you are responsible for your actions and your failures. Be sure to thank those who contributed to your successes. Seize opportunities even when your heart is pounding, and you are afraid to do so

 

When did you first get interested in STEM? 

I have loved math and science since grade school. I grew up with five terrific brothers who were tough on me, but treated me as an equal. My parents insisted I could be whatever I wanted to be. I reveled in fixing things, mixing concrete, doing projects with my dad, a civil engineer. For vacations, we went to see dams and tunnels, so technology was appreciated. I like to build stuff, but I also really like to figure out why things break. My husband of many years is a natural educator and scientist, challenges me every day, and I have had the privilege of interacting with him professionally as we are both materials engineers. The interest has never waned.

 

What advice (big or little) would you give to a young woman or girl who might be interested in pursuing a career in STEM? 

First, learn more about what scientists and engineers do, especially how they make the world a better place through their work. You should realize that engineering and technology touch every aspect of our lives — our cars, our food, electronic devices, environment, and infrastructure. Challenge yourself and take the tough classes. If you like math and science, you are off to a great start, but you need to develop other qualities as well, engineers do need to solve problems and learn how things work, but they also need to be creative, resourceful, good communicators, and team players.

 

What is the coolest thing that has happened while being involved (volunteering or mentoring) with FIRST? 

Every time I attend a FIRST competition (we hosted regionals at USNA), the energy from the teams would be electrifying and would make me want to get more kids involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FTC Teams competing this weekend- please periodically check your specific event's schedule, at the bottom under "Event Details," for weather-related updates and schedule changes.

 

We are monitoring the weather across the District. Please continue to check your specific event's schedule for changes and how it affects your team.

*Recent changes*
  • Fairlawn (Sat) - matches will start at 10:30am
  • Fulton (Sun only)- matches will begin at 9:30am
Once the events have started, if we have to make schedule adjustments, we will notify you directly at least 2 hours before you are due to arrive.

 

We are enthused to bring you an installment of the "Women in STEM Spotlight Series Sponsored by Leidos." This series highlights women involved in the FIRST community in DC, Maryland and Virginia who are an inspiration for our program's young women and girls.


Name: Jyoti Mehta

Place of Employment: United States Patent

   and Trademark Office

Job Title: Patent Examiner

 

 What is your specific job in STEM? How would you describe this job to young women and girls?

Marissa Streng was 9 years old when she invented the Puff-N-Fluff dog dryer. She was issued a patent for this invention in 2013 (https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/journeys-innovation/audio-stories/dogged-determination). A patent is a right given to a patent owner, for a new and useful invention, to exclude others from making, using or selling their invention for a limited period of time. Patents have been issued for inventions around us, for example, an iPhone, self-driving cars, and even for Coronavirus vaccines.

As a patent examiner, my job is to determine whether inventions should be granted patents. An inventor creates a new device or comes up with a new way of solving a problem. The inventor may then file a patent application describing their invention. To examine a patent application, I first understand the invention. Then I search known technical knowledge to ensure that the invention is new and not obvious. If I determine a patent should not be granted, I write up my findings and explain why. If I determine the invention is patentable, the USPTO issues a patent. 

 

What is the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is that I get to see the latest and greatest in technology. I am always learning something new! For example, I worked on a patent application where the inventor devised a new technique to prevent hackers from obtaining information about what was going on inside a computer processor. Another time, I was learning about AI algorithms for self-driving cars. Just recently, I worked on an application about computer architectures for machine learning. Every patent application that I examine has a different invention – a different idea from the one I examined before. It is like reading a new book every time! The inventions I work on keep me informed about the latest ideas in technology, sometimes even before the inventions are introduced to the world. Before I took this job, I had no knowledge of how the patent system impacts society. The inventions that I review from companies big and small may make it into products that change our lives, which I find very exciting!

But my job is not limited just to examining patent applications. I have used my skills at various other opportunities at the office. Since last year, I have been helping train new examiners. I have also collaborated on projects with examiners from the European Patent office and the Korean Patent Office.

Overall, I find the job always has something new to offer, which keeps the job interesting and there is never a dull moment!

 

What advice (big or little) would you give to a young woman or girl who might be interested in pursuing a career in STEM?

Try different things. You won’t know what you might enjoy doing until you try it.

When I was in school, given a choice, I would choose working on math and science over reading and writing. When I was offered a job at the USPTO, I was not sure if I would like the work as it involves a lot of reading. But I wanted to try something new.

Initially, I had to spend time learning the patent examination process. I had to learn to think more like an attorney. Once I got a good grasp on the job, I really enjoyed it. Searching to figure out whether an invention is new and nonobvious is my favorite part of the job. I would not have realized that had I not tried it. My advice to everyone is - Give it a try. There are so many opportunities in STEM, try what you can when you get the opportunity. Also, not all STEM careers require only STEM skills. My job requires reading, writing, team work, public speaking skills etc.

On a side note, this is one of the reasons I love FIRST. FIRST gives you an opportunity to try different things. You can get hands-on experience while building and programming robots. You get to apply the physics and math principles that you learn in school, all while using other skills such as leadership, team work etc.

Explore, try your hand at different things, have fun!

 

 

 

 

Inclement Weather

INCLEMENT
WEATHER POLICY

In case of Inclement Weather the day of
a FIRST Chesapeake Event,
Please call 804.464.8945
after 5am for updates