Student Innovators Develop Robots to Solve Technological Challenges

22 May 2022

DoD STEM–sponsored teams excel at 2022 FIRST® Championship in Houston, Texas

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®) enthusiasts came back strong at the FIRST in-person championship in two years. Student teams used technology to build robots that help solve transportation challenges, including remotely operated vehicles and autonomous delivery systems.

DoD STEM–sponsored teams at 2022 FIRST Championship in Houston.

Students from 40 countries competed with team-built robots before more than 30,000 spectators during the annual FIRST® World Championship in April 2022 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.

FIRST® is the world's leading student-serving nonprofit organization that inspires students of all ages to gain a greater appreciation for STEM and to pursue STEM career opportunities. The 2021-2022 season theme, FIRST® FORWARD™, was aligned with United Nations Sustainable Goal #9 and challenged students to think about how they might overcome transportation challenges and develop technological innovations that drive our society forward.

“The DoD congratulates all FIRST teams on an excellent season and wishes all students continued success in their STEM education.”

Louie Lopez, DoD STEM Director

FIRST® is a strategic partner of the Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC), which is supported by DoD STEM. DSEC's mission is to inspire young innovators, leaders, and changemakers; celebrate their STEM achievements; and provide support for pursuing STEM education and careers.

DoD STEM-sponsored teams at 2022 FIRST Championship in Houston.

“The DoD congratulates all FIRST teams on an excellent season and wishes all students continued success in their STEM education,” said DoD STEM Director Louie Lopez. “DoD STEM is proud to sponsor the largest number of FIRST teams, nearly 1,500 in the 2021-2022 season, and is grateful for all of the DoD professionals, scientists, and engineers who volunteer as coaches and mentors to build the future of STEM!”

The FIRST® Championship is the culmination of the season's programs, bringing together three separate robotics competitions for the Ultimate Sport of Mind™. The event includes the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) World Championship, FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship, and FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) World Festival.

DoD STEM Director, Louie Lopez, at 2022 FIRST Championship in Houston.

FRC Team 6919 at 2022 FIRST Championship in Houston.

FIRST Robotics Competition

At this year's World Championship, there were 47 DoD STEM-sponsored FRC teams (out of 454 total teams) from 19 states, and DoD STEM-sponsored teams placed in twelve different competitions. This year, two DoD STEM teams proceeded to the finals round, and one team advanced to the final match as part of a Championship Finalist Alliance.

DoD STEM-sponsored teams that finished as finalists and division winners and made it to the Championship Finalist Alliance are recognized below:

  • Team 4414, HighTide, from Ventura, California, finished as championship finalist and championship division winners
  • Team 1323, MadTown Robotics, from Madera, California, finished as championship division winners
  • Team 3539, Byting Bulldogs, from Washington, Michigan, were finalists for their championship division

FRC Team 8711 at 2022 FIRST Championship in Houston.

Eleven DoD STEM–sponsored teams won FIRST Robotics Competition Awards:

  • Team 59, Ramtech, from Miami, Florida, won the Quality Award
  • Team 364, Team Fusion, from Gulfport, Mississippi, won the Quality Award
  • Team 836, The RoboBees, from Hollywood, Maryland, won the Innovation in Control Award
  • Team 2168, Aluminum Falcons, from Groton, Connecticut, won the Excellence in Engineering Award
  • Team 2341, Sprockets, from Shawnee, Oklahoma, won the Engineering Inspiration Award
  • Team 2590, Nemesis, from Robbinsville, New Jersey, won the Entrepreneurship Award
  • Team 3128, Aluminum Narwhals, from San Diego, California, won the Gracious Professionalism Award
  • Team 4414, HighTide, from Ventura, California, won the Quality Award
  • Team 6919, The Commodores, from Albany, Georgia, won the Judges' Award
  • Team 87111, The Midnight Ostrich Runners, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, won the Championship Division Highest Rookie Seed and the Rookie All Star Award

Arvind Seshan, from Team 8027, Not the Droids You Are Looking For, from Sharon, Pennsylvania, received the esteemed Dean's List award for displaying outstanding leadership.

FIRST Technical Challenge

Five DoD STEM-sponsored FTC teams competed at Championship. Team 5553, RoboComets from Tulsa, Oklahoma won the Judges’ Choice Award. Team 16884, Mechanical Advantage from San Diego, California, won the Motivate Award. Rohan Bosworth, from Team 16884, received the Dean's List award.

Rohan Bosworth (pictured right) of FTC Team 16884 at FIRST Championship in Houston.

FTC Team 16091 at FIRST Championship in Houston.

FIRST LEGO League

Two DoD STEM–sponsored FLL teams competed in the FLL Challenge at Championship. During the FLL World Festival, younger students presented research projects and demonstrated LEGO®-based cargo delivery systems.

CookieBots 2.0 at FIRST Championship in Houston.

CookieBots 2.0 at FIRST Championship in Houston.

About FIRST

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®) is a global robotics community preparing K–12 students to be science and technology leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build STEM skills, inspire innovation and foster well-rounded life capabilities, including self-confidence, communication and leadership. Annually, DoD STEM sponsors over 1,500 FIRST® teams coached or mentored by a DoD scientist or engineer or a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) teacher. FIRST® continues to support and expand military-connected student teams through class packs and increased engagement at DoDEA and military-connected schools.

About DoD STEM and Defense STEM Education Consortium

Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC) is a collaborative partnership of STEM-focused organizations dedicated to addressing and prioritizing our nation’s STEM talent. DSEC aims to broaden STEM literacy and develop a diverse and agile workforce with the technical excellence to defend our nation. Through strategic investment in STEM education and outreach activities, the effort will provide students with more exposure to educational and career opportunities as well as DoD research. DSEC is led on behalf of DoD STEM by RTI International.