First State Robotics… Join us


First State Robotics is a Delaware 501(c)(3) nonprofit that fosters a love of science and technology by engaging students in the engineering design process and in robotics competitions while promoting the core value of gracious professionalism.

Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. Created in 2001, we inspire and motivate young people to extend learning beyond the classroom in order to-

• Develop and pursue interests in science, engineering, and technology
• Become confident, independent, and responsible
• Use creative thinking and problem-solving to make a difference in the world

Our robotics programs and affiliate partners impact students of all ages:

• Jr. FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) – grades k to 4
• FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) – grades 5 to 8
• FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) – high school
• FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) – high school

Our annual local and statewide competition events are free and open to the public.

FLL and JFLL 2014 challenges announced

wrld class challenge

The time has come! The waiting is over for Delaware’s JFLL and FLL teams. FIRST has announced the 2014 world-wide challenges for both age groups. They are challenged to think about, research, and design answers for this question- What is the future of learning?

In the 2014 FLL WORLD CLASS℠ Challenge, student teams will study how teaching and learning typically occurs- whether it is a particular skill, new academic content or something more complicated.

Then they are challenged to design a new more effective or efficient way to teach and learn that specific skill or idea. When students meet this challenge, they will teach adults about the ways that kids need and want to learn.

See guidelines, videos and get the new FLL challenge app here:

Team registration info is on our site here:

think tank JFLL


In the 2014 Jr.FLL THINK TANK(SM) Challenge, children ages 6 to 9 will take a closer look at where and how learning happens every day. Teams will also learn about simple machines and build a model made of LEGO® elements with a motorized part. They work under Jr.FLL’s signature set of Core Values and ultimately present what they learned through a Show Me Poster.

Learn more about the JFLL challenge and starting a team here:


To find out about Delaware’s FLL and JFLL upcoming schedule of events, contact

  • First State JrFLL Partner, Teshenia Hughes, at-
  • First State FLL Partner, Eric A. Cheek, at-

To learn more about FIRST, see here.

FSR welcomes new program directors

At a July 15 meeting, the FSR board appointed Delaware’s new FTC/FLL affiliate partner, Eric Cheek, as the FSR program director for Diamond State FTC and First State FLL/JFLL. Dr. Cheek served as FIRST affiliate partner in North Carolina before moving to Delaware last year to become Associate Vice President for Adult Continuing Education and Summer Programs at Delaware State University.

The board voted also to create new program director positions for two FTC mentors of non-school related teams, Andrew Szeto with MOE FTC Team 365 and David Onstad with FTC Team 8528, Rhyme Know Reason.

Andrew, a Technical Lead Engineer in software engineering at Boeing, has mentored MOE FTC, a non-school affiliated program for high school students organized through FSR, since its founding in 2006. David is a senior research scientist in entomology with DuPont and is mentor to a new FTC team made up primarily of home school students.

Peggy Vavalla, First State Robotics board president said, “We are delighted to welcome Eric, Andrew and David to our organization. FSR has always strived to create more opportunities for students to learn about robotics and other STEM disciplines through Lego League and FIRST Tech Challenge. Our new affiliates and program directors will allow us to reach more students throughout the state of Delaware and we look forward to assisting their efforts.”

FSR praised for inspiring, educating DE youth

In a recent editorial in Delaware News Journal, Ted Kaufman, an engineer, former US senator and long-time advocate of STEM and engineering education, spotlights our organization– First State Robotics– along with Delaware Technology Student Association (DETSA) for providing opportunities for Delaware students to explore STEM as a possible career choice. Sen. Kauffman believes all students should learn that engineering can be fun; engineers make a difference; and anyone can become an engineer.

Read here:

STEM programs show promise for future generations A new Brookings Institute report should encourage kids to consider a STEM education, career

Also of interest:

Brief video excerpt from C-SPAN of Sen. Kaufmann’s ‘First State Robotics’ Senate floor speech, given September 2009 (from University of Delaware Library Exhibits)