Spangler Family featured by FIRST FTC

Spanglers3We’re delighted to see the article featuring the Spangler family in FIRST’s FTC blog.  The Spanglers are indeed integral to our FTC operations here in Maryland and we thank them for all they do.  Next time you’re at a FIRST event — like the Maryland FIRST Tech Challenge Championship on February 22 at the JHU Applied Physics Lab — let them know they’re appreciated.

NASA Panel on Workforce Diversity, 3/12/14

NASA logoNASA has extended an invitation for area high school students to attend a panel session to celebrate Women’s History Month: “Workforce Diversity: Involving Everyone in the Conversation.”  The panel will take place March 12 from 9:30-11:30am at NASA Headquarters Auditorium in Washington, DC.  See the NASA WHM Flyer for more details; RSVP requested by February 20.

FIRST at Congressional Hearing 1/9/14

PrintOn Thursday, January 9, 2014, Dean Kamen and four FIRST students will testify about FIRST and STEM before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The topic is “Private Sector Programs that Engage Students in STEM.”

We’re delighted that two of the students are from Maryland, Ellana Crew from Team 1111 and Vishnu Rachakonda from Team 53. Joining them are two FIRST students from Virginia, Brian Morris from Team 612 and Daniel Nette from Team 1418.

The hearing is open to the public beginning at 10am in Rayburn House Office Building Room 2318.  If you have a chance to come to the Capitol on Thursday, it should be an interesting experience. Or have a look at the webcast.

Maryland FIRST Seasons Greetings


Dear Friends of Maryland FIRST and STEMaction,

We wish you the very best of the holiday season and thank you for your support and participation with FIRST in Maryland.  Our programs now reach more than 5,000 K-12 students and thousands more volunteers, mentors and coaches throughout the state.  Thank you all for helping inspire the next generation of technology leaders.

Our FIRST competitions are about to get underway in Maryland, now through April.  Here’s a single document with dates for the season, and links for volunteering.  Please plan to come to an event, bring a friend, catch the excitement, and Get Involved.

Our Maryland non-profit, STEMaction, Inc. is now operational and supports FIRST programs throughout the state, as well as other great STEM activities like the HoCo Math Festival on December 10.  Learn more at and note that you can support our activities with an online donation in any amount. Thank you again, and very best wishes, Bill Duncan Regional Director, Maryland FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Executive Director, STEMaction, Inc. cid:image002.png@01CED64D.41F3DDD0

Maryland FIRST 2013-14 Events Schedule

Our full list of Maryland 2013-14 FIRST Events is now available in one easy document.  All FIRST events are free and open to the public, so come on down, bring some friends, and see the excitement for yourself.  Better yet, volunteer for an event and learn about our programs from inside the ropes.

We will update this document as we add new events.  If you lose track of this blog post, you can find the document at

2013 FRC Education Day Presentations Posted

FRClogo_color_rgbPresentations from the October 26, 2013 FRC Education Day are now posted.  Get your hands on all the great information shared at this year’s Education Day.

Big thanks to the Baltimore Area Alliance for organizing the event, particularly Mr. Tom Milnes.  Special thanks to all the presenters and volunteers who made the day possible, and to the JHU Advanced Physics Lab for hosting the event.

Maryland FLL Qualifier Registration for “Nature’s Fury” Season

Natures Fury Logo SMMaryland FLL qualifier registration has been extended to Monday, October 28 at 5pm.  So, if you have not registered or were having some problems registering, hopefully this will give you the time you need.  Our list of Maryland FLL Qualifier sites and dates are here.

Before you register, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read all the instructions prior to registering your team(s).

Cost: $65 per team

You have two options for registration:

  1. If you are paying by credit card, please register here:
  1. If you are paying by check, please register here:

Please make your check(s) payable to: “The University System of Maryland Foundation”

Please note which team(s) your payment is for on the check and mail it to:

UMBC Attn: Karen Roulette 1000 Hilltop Circle, E210 Baltimore MD 21250

You may register three teams at a time. If you need to register more, you will need to load a new registration page.

Please note the following:

1.  To be eligible, you must have registered Maryland as your team’s primary region.

2.  Make sure you know your team number. Please do not enter a false number. It will be thrown out.

3.  You have the opportunity to choose your top three Qualifier sites. One must be a December date.

4.  Registration is $65/team. You can pay by check or credit card.

5.  If you have more than one team, we will try to keep your teams together. However, please do not try to register all your teams at one location. Plan to have a coach for each team.

6.  If you have a specific circumstance, you will have the opportunity in registration form to communicate this exception.  However the following reasons are not valid exceptions:  a) Vacation, b) New team, c) Some of the team not being available due to sports, music etc.  We run and operate as a sport.

7.  Please understand, as with all of FLL, we operate on the passion of volunteers. Our qualifying sites have sacrificed their time and space to help contribute to such an important initiative.

8.  Each of these sites can only handle a limited amount of teams.

FRC Education Day Oct. 26

BAA Education DayThe Baltimore Area Alliance presents the 2013 BAA Education Day on October 26 at the JHU Applied Physics Lab Kossiakoff Center in Laurel.  See the detailed agenda here:  BAA Education Day Detailed Agenda 2013.  This is the primary FRC education workshop in Maryland, and all Maryland FRC teams are invited.  Team leaders can register here (limit of 15 attendees per team):


SWE Invent It. Build It. on Oct. 26

SWE Expo logoFIRST is proud to be one of the exhibitors at the Society of Women Engineering’s Invent It. Build It. event at the Baltimore Convention Center on Oct. 26. See the event flyer: WE13_Invent_It_Build_It_Public_Expo_Flyer

We will feature FLL and FTC teams and robots, including some of our great all-girls teams from Maryland.  There will be lots of other great, interactive exhibits from leading STEM organizations around the country.  It should prove to be educational and fun.

The exhibit is free to registered ticket holders from 11am – 3pm but there is a special preview time from 9:00 – 10:30am for girls in grades 6-8 with a special ticket.  Please register here for the event.

Maryland Robotics Day coming Oct. 25 at College Park

13_dancingMaryland Robotics Day is a no-charge open house showcase that explores the wide range of robotics research taking place in the University of Maryland – College Park, Maryland Robotics Center.   The event will be held on campus in College Park, Md., on Friday, October 25.  Robotics Day has two tracks in 2013.

The morning track ( ) is for high school students and select school groups. It runs from 10 am to noon and includes lab tours, information about studying engineering at the University of Maryland and demonstrations by FIRST robotics teams (at the Kim Engineering building). The afternoon track, which starts at 1PM, is for industry and government professionals. You’ll have plenty of time to speak with robotics faculty, students and researchers about their research, and explore future collaborations.

To get more information or to register for Maryland Robotics Day, please visit .  

The Maryland Robotics Center at UMD encompasses five main robotics research areas:
  • Collaborative, Cooperative, Networked Robotics: bio-inspired robotics concepts, time-delayed robotics, robotic swarms, robotic cooperation under limited communication, and distributed robotics.
  • Medical Robotics: MRI-compatible surgical robotics, haptics-enabled AFM, exoskeletons for rehabilitation, and magnetic micromanipulation for drug delivery
  • Miniature Robotics: mesoscale robots; bio-inspired sensing, actuation, and locomotion; cell manipulation (optical, AFM based, and micro fluidics); and micro and nano manipulation (optical and magnetic).
  • Robotics for Extreme Environments: space robotics and autonomous deep-submergence sampling systems.
  • Unmanned Vehicles: micro air vehicles, unmanned sea surface vehicles, unmanned underwater vehicles, and planetary surface rover
This year Maryland Robotics Day is one of the events making up Mpact Week, a multi-day event sponsored by the A. James Clark School of Engineering that showcases the college’s research and innovations. Mpact Week also includes the Fischell Festival of Bioengineering, technology transfer events, and a Whiting-Turner Lecture on medical robotics. We look forward to seeing you on October 25!