The FIRST Chesapeake Alumni Ambassador Program is back with team grants and expanded opportunities to volunteer virtually--an exclusive opportunity for FIRST Alumni!
FIRST Chesapeake represents the FTC and FRC community in DC, Maryland, and Virginia and highly values the contributions of FIRST alumni as volunteers, mentors, and community advocates. In 2020, FIRST Chesapeake launched a new program that gave FIRST alumni opportunities to:
  • 1) connect with other FIRST alumni across the region;
  • 2) gain unique professional networking opportunities with FIRST supporters; and
  • 3) give back to the FIRST community.
Who are Alumni Ambassadors?
FIRST Chesapeake Alumni Ambassadors are:
  • a new generation of technical and trained competition volunteers (graduated from high school within the past ten years);
  • models of Coopertition® and Gracious Professionalism®;
  • mentors and volunteers who support FIRST Chesapeake teams, especially new teams and teams in high-need areas;
  • advocates who can explain FIRST and speak to its impact at community events.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2021 FIRST Chesapeake Alumni Ambassadors cohort. The application deadline is December 7th. Eligibility and program details are included below and on the Alumni Ambassador Program application.
Thanks to the generosity of Booz Allen Hamilton, we have this opportunity to highlight the contributions of FIRST alumni, while ensuring we have a cohort of experienced, committed alumni volunteers to support the next generation of FIRST teams. The 2021 cohort of Alumni Ambassadors, selected in December 2020, will be given the necessary training to assume more complex volunteer roles at District events, be publicly acknowledged for their role as FIRST alumni representatives, and will be eligible for grants of $1,000 to the FIRST team or program of their choice.
Completed application submitted by December 7, 2020.
Ambassadors must be an FTC or FRC alumnus who has graduated from high school in the past ten years.
Ambassadors can be either:
  • FIRST Chesapeake alumni- even if you go to university/college out of state (you can meet qualifications virtually)
  • FIRST Alumni who participated in a FIRST team anywhere, but to be eligible to serve as a FIRST Chesapeake Alumni Ambassador, participants must reside in DC, Maryland, or Virginia.
Alumni Ambassador application deadline:
December 7, 2020, 5:00PM *updated*
Selected Ambassadors will be notified by December 11, 2020.
Other considerations:
Upon completion of the Ambassador Program, $1,000 grants will be awarded to the FIRST team chosen by the Alumni Ambassador.
Contact Sandy Furman at
Has your team been the ‘go to’ team for advice in the pits in years past? Do you have skills and expertise you would love to share? In this unique year, there is still a need to offer support to one another. We are looking for some teams to act as experts, and plan to set up virtual meeting spaces before and during the competition season. To find out more about the expectations for teams willing to volunteer, contact Rose Young (). 

The FIRST Robotics Competition NASA grant deadline is MONDAY Nov 16th- this is an easy $450 for veteran or rookie teams to be applied towards your initial team registration fee for the upcoming 2021 season.

Don't wait- apply here now!


Applications are being accepted for the annual Women in STEM Scholarships Sponsored by Dominion Energy. Scholarships will be awarded to three outstanding women (high school juniors and seniors) currently registered with a FIRST team in the FIRST Chesapeake District (FTC or FRC in DC, Maryland, and Virginia). The top scholarship is $3,000 with two $1,000 scholarships also available. Applications are due no later than 5:00PM on Sunday, November 15, 2020. Finalists will be notified no later than December 1, 2020 and must attend a virtual interview with the selection committee (date and time TBD). Scholarship recipients will be notified no later than December 15, 2020.
Important update: Because of virtual learning and COVID 19 restrictions, if you were registered with an FTC or FRC team in the District of Columbia, Maryland or Virginia during the 2019-20 academic year, but your team is not competing this season, you are still eligible to apply.
Scholarships will be presented at the annual Reaching for the Stars: Women in STEM Breakfast Sponsored by Leidos on January 27, 2021. Additional details can be found here. Questions? Contact Katarina Spears at .
This week the FIRST Chesapeake Chats Series Sponsored by Newports News Shipbuilding features an installment of the "Today's Women in STEM" Series Sponsored by Leidos. The five-part series, featured the first Thursday each month through March 2021, will provide insight and inspiration from leading female STEM professionals about their careers, aspirations, and challenges.
Thursday, November 5th, 6:00pm - Today's Women in STEM Series Sponsored by Leidos. "Cool Jobs: Discussion with Canon Virginia Employees - Presented by Canon Virginia." Hear what inspired these Canon Virginia employees to explore the engineering field and what challenges they have faced as female engineers.
  • Featuring Belinda Donavant, Sr. Director of Product Engineering; Linda "Lynn" Miller, Sr. Engineer, Advanced Continuous Improvement; Angie Coulton, Engineering Systems Specialist III, Product Engineering; and Cynthia Popernack, Sr. Engineer, Advanced Continuous Improvement.


It is with mixed emotions that we are announcing longtime FIRST Senior Mentor, Angie Fontanilla, will be stepping back from her position at the end of October. As so many of us know, Angie's dedication to FIRST teams truly knows no boundaries. She has spent countless weekends and evenings attending community events and outreach, recruiting and supporting teams, and working innumerable FIRST  competitions and Championships. She has done all of this with gentle good humor and incredible attention to detail. 
Angie has been an FSM for the Greater DC area for 6 years. She has been involved with FIRST since 2008, with all 3 of her children taking part in the program and also as a coach and mentor with various FLL and FTC teams. While she remains committed to the mission of FIRST and hopes to return in some capacity at a later date, she has made the decision to focus on her family for the near future. While we understand and respect Angie's decision, she will be greatly missed by many staff, volunteers, and teams. Her knowledge of all things FIRST, her work ethic, and her kindness has made FIRST Chesapeake and VA-DC FIRST LEGO League much stronger and better organizations.
We will be looking to fill the Greater DC area FSM position this fall, so stay posted for more information.  Please join us in wishing Angie the best.
Deadlines Approaching! Don’t miss out on these grants:
  • Equity & Access Grant: Application submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, November 6. Apply today!
  • New Team Grant: This grant is open to FIRST® Robotics Competition Rookie Teams and New Veteran Teams. Application submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, November 9. Apply today! If you have any questions regarding this grant please send an email to .
See the FIRST Chesapeake grants page for more opportunities for both FRC and FTC teams.
Do you have 10-15 hours available a week and would like to get more involved in FIRST programs?  FIRST Chesapeake and VA-DC FIRST LEGO League are looking for a qualified candidate to fill the FIRST Senior Mentor Position for the Greater DC area. 
FIRST® Senior Mentors (or FSMs) are a group of highly skilled and talented, technical and non-technical individuals whose main focus is on recruiting, supporting, and expanding FIRST programs at the local level.  This position would report to FIRST Headquarters but will also work closely and collaboratively with FIRST Chesapeake and VA-DC FLL.  FIRST Senior Mentors have many opportunities to provide critical support to teams, volunteers and local partners, including identifying and recruiting volunteers to be mentors, coaches, and event volunteers, attending community outreach events, and supporting existing teams, mentors, and coaches.
If you are interested in learning more about or applying for this paid position, please contact Ron Therrien, Director of Programs for FIRST Chesapeake or Kaitlin Ilnitzki, Assistant Director, VA-DC FLL. Here is a short video about the position. A description of the FIRST Senior Mentor Program can also be found here

Inclement Weather


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