MOE 365 jumps in to meet new challenge

Here are a few scenes from the FRC team MOE365 meeting last Saturday, January 9 at DuPont’s Chestnut Run work site. Like others around the world, they gathered to view kickoff video from FIRST world headquarters, then jumped in to begin brainstorming potential strategies and robot designs.

  • (Left) MOE students watching a broadcast of the FIRST kickoff, showing Dean Kamen talking with students in Manchester, NH.
  • (Right) MOE students acting out the roles of robots in a simulated match to help the team understand how the game works.


The 2016 challenge has a medieval theme and name: FIRST Stronghold, and the kickoff video spoofed genre films and television shows– complete with catapulted “animals” and tower-climbing robots. Learn more about FRC here or watch the same animation video below.


FSR announces 2016 board

President George W. Bush, meets with the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), "Chairman's Award" Winning Team: MOE (Miracles of Engineering) Team 365 from Baltimore, MD at the White House, Monday, April 30, 2007, in Washington. Participants included Carol Kauffman, regional FIRST advisor (far left). Photo Credit: "NASA/Bill Ingalls"

President George W. Bush, meets with the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), “Chairman’s Award” Winning Team: MOE 365 at the White House, Monday, April 30, 2007. Participants included Carol Kauffman, regional FIRST advisor (far left). Photo Credit: “NASA/Bill Ingalls”

The Board of First State Robotics has a new member for 2016. At the December meeting, the board voted to invite Roy Hernandez to fill a vacancy left by the retirement of Carol Kauffman. Carol, a former regional director with FIRST, is an outspoken advocate for the power of youth robotics programs such as FIRST, to develop student self-confidence, career choices, and academics.

In a 2007 interview after traveling to the White House with FSR team MOE 365, Carol recalled the first time she attended a FIRST event and the encounter with two girls that got her hooked-

“I saw these two girls working on one of the robots…They were interacting with adults, explaining things like electrical systems… It turns out they… had never dreamed about going to college before getting involved in a robotics team. I thought that if something like this could inspire regular girls to read about electronics on their own and learn all of this, then it should be encouraged everywhere.”

Board president, Peggy Vavalla praised her years of service. “Carol Kauffman had a voice of experience, having been involved with USFIRST for many years. We will miss her enthusiasm, knowledge and ability to clarify an issue and identify the problem. We wish her great success in her future endeavors.”

Roy Hernandez, a Vice President in risk management with Barclays, comes to FSR with a wealth of experience as community leader and volunteer, having served terms with boards of the Latin American Community Center and Academia Antonia Alonso, a charter school in Wilmington. He is also the dad of an FSR robotics student.

In welcoming the newest member, Peggy noted, “Roy Hernandez’s background of service on various nonprofit boards makes him an ideal person to help us fulfill our mission. His previous experience with community outreach and education will help us look at new ideas and ways to move forward. The board is looking forward to his expertise and participation.”

Robotics teams demo at Young Innovators Fair

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Pennsylvania and Delaware FTC teams promote robotics at Young Innovators Fair

Students and mentors with First State Robotics FTC team Rhyme Know Reason joined representatives from five Pennsylvania robotics teams and Pennsylvania FIRST Tech Challenge organizers to demonstrate the fun and educational value of robotics to over 14,000 people at the Young Innovators Fair on January 2-3 at Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. Other FTC teams participating in the public demo event were Flaming Phoenix, Metal Works, Sparks, Smokin’ Motors, MASHellaneous, and RoboLancers. In addition, FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics team TOBOR was on hand to demonstrate their robot accomplishing its missions on an FLL competition field.

During the 18+ hours at the fair, the robotics students, mentors, and Penn FTC head, Tom Zawislak explained the principles and activities of FIRST, described their robots, and encouraged visitors in participation and team development. They gave young visitors a chance to drive demo bots and watch as competition robots performed on an FTC field. The large crowds were enthusiastic and asked many questions about FIRST.

If you missed the fun, FTC’s upcoming competitions are free and open to the public . Find info about local events here-

The Young Innovators Fair offers a variety of STEM activities and exhibits designed to attract children of varying interests and curiosity levels.
News item at CBS Philly