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 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!





Although you won't be at Shenandoah Caverns for very long, we wanted to share local dining information with teams since there's no food on-site.  
Restaurants Within 5 Miles 
  • Italian Touch Pizza in Woodstock, will deliver to the Caverns
  • Southern Kitchen - in New Market, has dine in and carry out. There will be menus out for the teams if you care to look.
  • There is plenty of fast food off the 81 exits on either side of the exit for the Caverns.

Parents and other travelers who will be at the Colonial Heights Keystone Truck and Tractor Museum event site, but who are not the designated team members and mentor participating, are reminded they may visit the museum portion of the building while they wait.

Go here for information about ticket prices and the museum's collections. 

There is a restaurant on site as well.

FTC Teams-

Our first event will take place this weekend, and it’s an event like no other!  Join the livestream on Twitch or better yet, take part in the event!  You don’t need a robot, and maybe your team has not even been able to register this season.  We know teams are finding all sorts of ways to be Game Changers!  So during the show Saturday, we want to include as many teams as possible.  Here’s how you join the fun-

Send one or more of the following to us in Dropbox (http://bit.ly/3pv5LGF).  Photo format is .jpg, .png, video format .mp4 or .mov.  Include your team number in the file name.

  • A team photo, Zoom meeting snap, collage or whatever you would like to share
  • A photo of one or more team members holding up a sign showing what you would insert in this statement, “We are changing the game of _______________”
  • A photo of one or more team members engaged in community activities (making PPE, socially distanced outreach, thanking your community, etc.)
  • A photo of one or more team members holding up a sign with the word(s) you would choose to complete “Our mentors inspire us by ____________________”
  • A short (1-3 min) video your team has made to inspire others.  This can be a robot reveal, a tribute to your community, an animation of your robot from a CAD program, a reflection on the season, or something else you think would be inspiring to those watching FTC on Twitch.  [Note that all video will be reviewed for appropriate content and non-copyrighted audio].

Thanks for considering – look for your team to be part of FIRST Chesapeake Hybrid Events for the Ultimate Goal Season! 

Inclement Weather


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