Texas FIRST programs are taking advantage of social media at their events and it’s a great way to stay informed throughout and engage different audiences. Texas’s first FRC regional event took place March 3-4 at San Antonio’s Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center. The regional host and FIRST in Texas marketed to teams and the media to join in on the Alamo Regional’s conversation using Twitter and use of #AlamoFIRST leading up to the competiton. During competition, teams, parents, social media reporters and even financial sponsors were engaged on Twitter tweeting game stats, pictures and up-to-the-minute reports.


The preceding image was posted by @FIRSTinTX twitter follower, Laura Hood. Laura is a mentor for Dickinson High School’s FRC team 2936 in Dickinson, Texas. Along with this picture and multiple other tweets adding to the conversation captured by #AlamoFIRST, rumored reports were posted that the Alamo Regional was the first to have a successful three bot balance in the nation! Unfortunately, I cannot confirm the validity of this, but three other FRC regionals were going on. Week one regionals were in San Antonio, TX, Kansas City, MO, Manchester, NH and Knoxville, TN. Tweeters across the country were also tweeting to FIRST’s #omgrobots and #omgFIRST sharing stats and updates on attempts to get a successful tri bot balance, which earns participants extra points at the end of the match.

Needless to say, the upcoming FRC Dallas Regional Sponsored by jcpenney scheduled March 29-31, will also engage its audience with a special Twitter conversation hashtag. If you have not joined Twitter yet, now is the time! Also, if you are unfamiliar with Twitter lingo, brush up now! (especially on the use of hashtags) Stay tuned to @FIRSTinTX and FIRSTinTexas on Facebook and LinkedIn for updates on what the Twitter hashtag will be for the FRC Dallas Regional Sponsored by jcpenney.


2011 FIRST Scholarships

Posted: January 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and are excited about the upcoming FRC Kickoff scheduled for this Saturday, January 7. View it on NASA TV from 9am-11am CT.

To followup regarding the last post, I wanted to give some facts regarding 2011’s FIRST scholarship winners. In 2011 there were nearly $15 million in scholarships available from 150 scholarship providers. Of all the scholarships available in 2011 (and there were a TON) 16 students from TX received scholarships. in the following amounts from the following institutions

  • ASME Auxiliary ($5,000)
  • BAE Systems FIRST Inspiration Award ($1,000)
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida ($5,000/year)
  • ITT Technical Institute ($9,000/year)
  • Olin College of Engineering (half tuition-approx. $20,000/yr!)
  • Raytheon Company ($1,000)
  • Texas A&M ($1,500)
  • University of Texas at Arlington ($11,000/year)
  • University of Texas ($2,000)

This information and more can be found at FIRST‘s web site of 2011 scholarship winners.

Glancing through the list of scholarship winners I was hoping to see more winners from Texas. I hope this year more students put forth applications! FIRST involvement looks spectacular on a college resume: you’re problem solving, working in teams, creating web sites, business plans, communicating, etc!

On a parting note: FIRST has published this most updated news sheet regarding FIRST scholarships including important notes from specific universities and upcoming deadlines including CHANGES in deadlines. Please print it out and put it at the top of your To Do list.


The Holidays are here! Congratulations! You’ve made it! What will you do will all of your time???

Well there are two important things really:

#1. Sustainability Grants are still available for Texas Workforce Commission teams funded last season. Your team has until January 2, 2012 to get your application in to FIRST in Texas to collect $1,255 in sustainability funds. Always be thorough in submitting the application being careful to submit all necessary documents that are required for consideration.

#2. It’s time to research and apply for FIRST scholarships! Currently there are 150 scholarship providers issuing scholarships valuing nearly $14 million! Keep checking back because FIRST will post more opportunities as they become available. Just scrolling through them, deadlines start as early as January 1, 2012. Currently eight are specifically for schools in Texas. Nine can be used anywhere. These scholarships are mostly for juniors and seniors in high school. Be thorough in your application. Make sure you provide all information needed including additional documents. Make sure you update your high school resume, keeping it concise with only necessary items that will make you shine! Most importantly, pay attention to deadlines and make sure you qualify for the particular scholarship before you spend time applying for it.

Your time off is well deserved but invest some of your down time in activities that you can take care of now without the stress of school leaving you little time and energy.

Relax and enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

Aside  —  Posted: December 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

FIRST in Texas Call for Mentors

Posted: September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

As kids have settled back in the classroom FIRST teams are activating to meet this season’s challenges. Many teams rely on the support of mentors who join their team as support to the coach to provide extra instruction in areas like programming, building, engineering, team marketing and financial management. While technical mentors can be an asset to any team, anyone able to help a FIRST coach in the areas of team grant research and sponsorships, leading the team’s marketing committee, business committee or any other FIRST team committee allows the coach time to focus on instructing and keeping the team on task.

FIRST in Texas makes it easy for anyone interested in joining a FIRST team as a mentor. Simply fill out the Mentor Match Up form linked here and available on the FIRST in Texas web site under Get Involved. Visit www.usfirst.org to get more information on the different pipeline of programs available to volunteer for.

The Texas Workforce Commission has approved funding that will allow FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in Texas to award sustainability grants to Texas FIRST robotics teams as well as generate new teams.

The Texas Workforce Commission funds will go to sustain the 162 FTC and 22 FRC teams that generated from a similar grant that was awarded in 2011 to new FTC and FRC teams in Texas. With these new funds provided by the Texas Workforce Commission each FTC team funded in 2011 is eligible to receive up to $1,505 covering kit costs and shipping, FTC program fees, a Texas Qualifier Competition registration and registration to the Texas FTC Regional Championship should the team advance. FRC teams funded by the Texas Workforce Commission are eligible to receive $5,000 to fund competition kit costs and registration fees. This grant will also supply startup funds for 40 new FRC teams throughout the state. Teams funded by the Texas Workforce Commission in 2011 and interested new FRC teams that will compete for the first time in 2012 are required to fill out a grant application form available on the FIRST in Texas website www.firstintexas.org.

Teams applying for grants through FIRST in Texas should be thorough in their application and provide all documents requested in the application upon the application’s submission.

The FRC and FTC competitions are FIRST’s upper-level competitions designed for high school participants. The FRC runs on a larger scale model, producing larger robots than the FTC counterpart. FRC competitions take place on game fields as large as 27’x54’. These teams average 25 students per team. FTC teams consist of up to 10 students per team and design robots to compete on competition fields as large as 12’x12’. Both competitions receive a unique game challenge each year and a variety of awards are offered recognizing various aspects of the competition such as design, creativity, entrepreneurship, rookie inspiration, a website award, among others.

FIRST in Texas is supported by companies interested in cultivating STEM initiatives within the state. FIRST in Texas’ sponsors and partners include the Texas Workforce Commission, jcpenney, Greater Texas Foundation, Time Warner Cable, Lockheed Martin, and National Instruments.

Time Warner Cable’s www.clickedin.com launched last week in Austin and San Antonio and is expected to launch in Dallas this week marketing local businesses. Through this new service, Time Warner Cable will donate up to three percent of proceeds to support local charities through Connect a Million Minds. 1.5% can be expected to support local FLL programs in these cities!

“The ClickedIn platform takes advantage of Time Warner Cable Media’s full suite of marketing solutions, promoting deals through e-mail, TV and its online properties. This robust set of promotional outlets helps to drive traffic to the ClickedIn portal, www.clickedin.com, and provides local businesses with a more integrated approach to local marketing,” a Time Warner Cable press release stated.

The service will be released in the Austin, San Antonio and Dallas markets as pilot programs and is expected to expand to additional areas. In an effort to support our FLL affiliates in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, check out ClickedIn and reconsider which deal finder you use most often. FLL affiliate partners work hard throughout the state to grow FLL in their regions, host FLL competitions and other educational STEM events for potential and current FLL participants.

FIRST in Texas is grateful for Time Warner Cable’s support in nurturing one of the beginner FIRST programs right here in Texas. For more information regarding ClickedIn, please read the linked press release.

Texas Robot Round-Up

Posted: July 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Teams from all over Texas will be gathering in the state’s capital at the end of July to participate in the inaugural Texas Robot Round-Up.  The event will be held at Anderson High School in Austin, TX on Friday, July 29th and Saturday, July 30th. Team 2158, the ausTIN CANs, are excited to serve as hosts for 30 teams from the Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio areas.

After planning a successful first year Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in San Antonio, the Alamo Region set its sights on providing teams with an additional opportunity to play during the off-season. Teams will compete in a modified version of the 2011 FRC game, LOGO MOTION, on an official field provided and
staffed by AndyMark, Inc. Additionally, Texas Robot Round-Up will provide teams with other unique opportunities, such as a Mentor Tournament, Robot Skills Challenge, and workshops and presentations on a variety of topics, including LabVIEW.

Texas Robot Round-Up is an opportunity for FRC teams, both veteran and rookie, to come together one more time to share experiences, learn from each other, build new friendships, practice and compete with their robots, and have fun. This is also an opportunity to bring new team members, mentors, and sponsors up to speed on what FIRST is really all about.

Texas Robot Round-Up has been made a possible through the generous sponsorship of FIRST in Texas, National Instruments, and Time Warner Cable, the assistance of central Texas teams, and volunteers from
across the country. We truly appreciate all your support!

For more details on the event, please see: http://www.alamo-first.org/component/content/article/1/112-2011-texas-robot-round-up-frc-off-season-competition.html

We look forward to seeing you soon! Go teams!

Jess Jankowitsch
Assistant Regional Director & Volunteer Coordinator
Alamo Regional, FIRST Robotics Competition