FIRST Holds Annual Regional Robotics Competition in Washington, DC

60 Student Teams from Around the Country Meet in Nation’s Capitol, March 5-6

WASHINGTON — (BUSINESS WIRE) — March 4, 2010 — Students on nearly 60 high school teams representing 11 states and the District of Columbia are bringing robots to the Nation’s Capitol, March 5-6 to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition Washington DC Regional.

FIRST is about giving kids the opportunity to build skill sets like analytical thinking to then develop what they may or may not use to build a robot; but they might use these skills to become a scientist, engineer, or inventor,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST Founder, as he explained how what students learn from FIRST is very different from other sports. “Ten years from today, one of these students is going to be out in the world having done something extraordinary for a major, global problem.”

The student teams - plus engineers, teachers and mentors - will gather at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC to compete in this year’s FIRST Challenge, called “BREAKAWAY.” FRC teams, working with adult mentors, must determine their strategy and had just six weeks from the kick-off to program, build, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. In the game BREAKAWAY, two alliances of three teams compete on a 27-by-54-foot playing field with bumps, attempting to earn points by collecting soccer balls in goals. Additional bonus points are earned for each robot suspended in the air and not touching the field at the end of the match.

“These students are our future technological workforce,” said Kenneth Lesley, who is the engineering department chairperson and team leader for McKinley Technology High School. “FIRST has given them an exposure to the many possibilities that engineering can offer. I am excited to see my students begin to consider engineering and technology as possible career choices.”

The teams will compete in a series of challenges aimed at testing their robots, building alliances, cooperating in teams and exercising gracious professionalism in an event designed to encourage their pursuit of careers in science, engineering, math and technology.

In addition, National Defense Education Program (NDEP) is hosting Technology Row for corporate sponsors and university partners to showcase their latest in technology and research. The goal is to show students that what they are doing on a FIRST team is relevant to real world applications.

The DC Regional is one of more than 40 similar events held around the country in late February, during March and in early April. The DC Regional is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, March 5 and Saturday, March 6.

The DC Regional is one of three regional competitions organized through the FIRST National Capitol Region, which coordinates FIRST activities in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The National Capital Region is presented by sponsors BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin and NASA. To see a complete listing of sponsors for the National Capitol Region and the DC Regional, click here.


Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $12 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, FIRST LEGO League for children 9-14 years old, and Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to


Videos showing FIRST teams in action:

Click Here for video #1. Click Here for video #2.


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Herb Muktarian, 703-638-2529
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Scott Fazekas, 240-328-3603
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