Maryland VISTAs Wanted!

VISTA logoWe are looking for Americorps VISTA candidates to help bring FIRST programs to more students and underserved communities in Maryland. The VISTA program is a great way to get involved or give back to the FIRST community.  It’s a full-time commitment for a year with a minimal stipend, but it pays big dividends for yourself and the community.

One posting is already open for a VISTA in Baltimore to support initiatives within Baltimore City Public Schools, particularly for FIRST LEGO League and Junior FIRST LEGO League.  We would like to fill this position as soon as possible to have someone on-board over the summer to prepare for the new season.

We can potentially open a second posting anywhere in Maryland for the right candidate.  We would especially love to have a FIRST alum, volunteer or mentor willing to commit to a year of service.  We have a track record of success with recent alums taking a gap year before college, FIRST alums coming out of college looking to build careers, and retirees looking for a great opportunity to keep them active and engaged.  If you have interest, please contact us at

Maryland Teams at 2015 FIRST Championship

Congratulations and Good Luck to all the Maryland teams headed to the FIRST Championship in St. Louis April 22-25.  This year once again marks our biggest contingent of teams ever — a total of 16 teams making the trip along with 5 Dean’s List Award Finalists, in addition to a bevy of great volunteers.  Make that 17 teams — there’s also Team 418 SWAT Bots from Annapolis going to the Jr.FLL World Festival Expo.

Maryland Teams at 2015 FIRST ChampsThis year features 8 fields of FIRST Robotics Competition action in the Edward Jones Dome, along with FIRST LEGO League teams  competing in the America’s Center adjacent to the Dome.  Four fields of FIRST Tech Challenge and a Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo will bring excitement to Union Station.

Keep track of all the action via webcasts — check here for links to feeds from the Dome and Union Station.  Get more detail from the Championship page for each FIRST program:

Maryland STEM Festival Kickoff

Vertical Logo ColorThe inaugural Maryland STEM Festival will be held November 6-15, 2015.  A kickoff press conference was held at the Maryland Science Center.

STEMaction, our Maryland non-profit that supports FIRST and other great STEM activities, is a founding partner for the Maryland STEM Festival.  This new annual Festival is a great way to get the word out to your local communities about the work Maryland’s FIRST teams are doing to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.  We encourage Maryland FIRST teams of all levels and ages to consider hosting or participating in an event.  See this flyer (MDSTEM-Fest-FIRST-team-flyer.pdf) for some ideas of different types of events you can hold.

FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST LEGO League Championship Results

20150228 13-30-20 IMG_9468cLast weekend was perhaps the busiest ever in Maryland FIRST history.  Due to the snowstorm the previous weekend, we held both the 2015 Maryland FIRST Tech Challenge Championship and the 2015 FIRST LEGO League Championship on Saturday, Feb. 28. In all, more than 1,100 students on 120 teams and 400 volunteers were in action.  We thank the entire Maryland FIRST community for your help and support.

MDFTC15-618The Maryland FIRST Tech Challenge Championship at the JHU Applied Physics Lab in Laurel featured 32 top middle and high-school teams playing this season’s Cascade Effect game. Click here for a full summary of the event. Congratulations to the seven teams advancing to the FTC East Super-Regional in Scranton, PA on March 19-21.

20150228 17-58-28 MC-IMG_9815sAt UMBC, 72 of our best FIRST LEGO League teams (grades 4-8) gathered for the culmination of the “World Class” season.  More than 40 awards were presented, including the 1st Place Champions Award to Team 9764 TechWeb.  We also held a great Jr.FLL Expo (grades K-3) with more than 20 teams showing off their “Think Tank” work.  See lots of great photos at our Maryland FIRST Gallery.

Maryland FIRST Championships Time!

13748988135_71245c0f99_zWant to see what FIRST is all about? Want to see the culmination of months of hard work for hundreds of great kids, teams and mentors? Want to join in the excitement and fun of cheering on your favorite teams?

Make plans to attend our 2015 Maryland FIRST Championship events.  All events are free and open to the public.  Register for one of our FIRST Stop tours with a student or adult ambassador to learn more about FIRST and how you can get involved.  Download a flyer: 2015-Maryland-FIRST-Championships-Invitation-r.pdf.

2015 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff on 1/3/15

Working on a FIRST botThe 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition season kicks off on January 3, 2015.  You can join us in Maryland at Capitol Technology University (formerly Capitol College, 11301 Springfield Road, Laurel, MD 20708) at 10:00am.  You can also watch the Kickoff online courtesy of Comcast starting at 10:30am.

High school FRC teams receive their 2015 Kit of Parts and see this year’s game for the first time at the Kickoff.  Then they have 6 weeks to design, build and test their robot before coming to competitions including the 2015 Chesapeake Regional at the University of Maryland Xfinity Center on April 2-4.

Come and be part of the excitement!

FRC Education Day, Oct. 25, 2014

The Batlimore Area Alliance of FRC teams will host an FRC Education Day on Saturday, October 25th at the JHU Applied Physics Lab in Laurel.  The Education Day offers both engineering and non-engineering training workshops for students and mentors to help prepare them for the upcoming FRC season.  Rookies and veterans alike from all Maryland and DC FRC teams are invited to attend.  A sample of workshop topics includes:

  • Electricity And Wiring 101 With 2015 Control System
  • Pneumatics 101
  • Motors 101
  • Drive Train /Chassis 101
  • Manipulators /Sensors 101
  • Java
  • LabView
  • Design Principles
  • Autodesk
  • Youth Protection Program
  • Team Sustainability
  • Use of 3?D Printer Parts in FRC Robots
  • Team Image and Branding
  • Fundraising
  • Scouting
  • Inspection

Event details and registration information follows: BAA Education Day (Training workshops) Who: MD and DC FIRST FRC Teams What: Engineering and non-engineering workshops to prepare mentors and students for the upcoming FIRST FRC season When: Saturday, October 25, 2014 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM Location: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, Kossiakoff Center 11100 Johns Hopkins Rd, Laurel, MD 20723 Why: Learn best practices from FRC veterans for having a fun and successful FIRST FRC team!

Register online NOW at Fee: $5.00 (pay at the door; includes lunch)

Schedule of Events (Subject to change, updated September 20th, 2014)

Questions? contact us at

Maryland FIRST Listservs

Maryland FIRST operates three listservs through our partners at UMBC.  These are used to communicate anonymously with Maryland FLL Coaches, Maryland Jr.FLL Coaches, and a Maryland FLL Interest group for those interested in FLL but not yet a coach.

To UNSUBSCRIBE from any of these lists, choose the appropriate link above, then click ‘Unsubscribe’ from the left hand menu. You will be asked to provide an email address, and if you are a member of the list the system will send you a confirmation email.  When you click on the link in the confirmation e-mail, you will be immediately removed from the List Serv.  Note that we cannot directly remove you from the List Serv; you have to complete the process via the confirmation email.

FLL All-Coaches Meeting Oct. 4, 2014

FLL_WorldClassRGBThe Maryland FIRST LEGO League All-Coaches Meeting is set for October 4, 2014 at UMBC (1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore), starting in the ground floor lecture hall 104 of the Information Technology Engineering building at 9am.

This meeting provides an overview of the FLL World Class season in Maryland, including announcement of our Maryland Qualifier dates and a detailed review of the World Class challenge missions.  The meeting will also feature breakout sessions from 10:30 – 12:30 covering operating an FLL team, the World Class research project, what to expect at a judging session, and team branding and fundraising.  The All-Coaches meeting is free and no registration is required for the morning sessions.

In the afternoon from 1:15 – 3:30pm we will hold NXT and EV3 programming workshops.  Due to limited seating, registration will be required for these programming workshops.  Please register here.

We recognize not all coaches will be able to attend this meeting.  Presentations from the meeting will be posted on the website after the meeting.

FIRST at Silver Spring Maker Faire on Sep. 14

Siver Spring Maker FaireFIRST will exhibit at the Silver Spring Maker Faire on Sep. 14, 2014 from noon – 5pm in the Silver Spring Civic Building.  Stop by to drive robots and talk to us about getting involved in FIRST.  Now is the time to start new teams, consider mentoring an existing team, or volunteering for our events.  Plus there are tons of other great exhibits and activities at this free Maker Faire.  See you there!  See flyer for more details: Maker Faire SS flyer