VSU Selected As The First HBCU To Host Prestigious High School Robotics Championship

VSU Selected As The First HBCU To Host Prestigious High School Robotics Championship

Top high-school robotics teams from Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia will compete at VSU for the opportunity to advance to the World Championship.

Virginia State University is proud to announce that its College of Engineering and Technology has been selected to host the 2024 FIRST Chesapeake District FIRST Robotics Competition Championship. As many as 4,000 people will attend to celebrate teams competing head-to-head in an alliance format over three days at the VSU Multi-Purpose Center from April 4-6. This marks the first time that a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) has been chosen to host the competition.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a global non-profit that aims to inspire young people to become leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math. Celebrating its 35th year, FIRST is the world’s leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education through a suite of life-changing youth robotics programs that build skills, confidence, and resilience.

“These opportunities create excitement and energy for young people to pursue STEM careers and are especially important for students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds,” said Lorin Sodell, Director of External and Industry Engagement within the university’s College of Engineering and Technology. “At VSU, our commitment to providing access and opportunity to students from ALL backgrounds makes us an excellent choice to host this tournament. Over the three-day event, team members and their families will have a front-row seat to see why Greater Happens Here at VSU.”

FIRST Chesapeake operates STEM programs for students ages 4-18 throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. The Chesapeake Championship will feature the top 54 teams from the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) program—grades 9-12—from across the Chesapeake District competing to earn a place to showcase their engineering skills and creative power at the Worlds Championship this April.

The University is encouraging anybody interested in STEM to volunteer and participate. The VSU College of Engineering and Technology will also be partnering with other colleges at VSU, local schools, and community organizations to ensure a successful event.

"FIRST Chesapeake and Virginia State University's partnership in hosting the 2024 FIRST Chesapeake District FIRST Robotics Competition Championship fills us with immense pride and excitement,” said Alex Bryant, Executive Director for FIRST Chesapeake. “As we prepare to welcome high school teams from across DC, Maryland, and Virginia, this milestone is not just about the competition itself; it's a testament to the transformative power of diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. By partnering with one of Virginia's premier HBCUs to host this prestigious event, we amplify the message that every student, regardless of background, deserves equal opportunities to excel in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

The 2024 FIRST Chesapeake District FRC Championship at VSU promises to be an exciting and inspiring event for all involved. VSU is honored to have been chosen as the host and looks forward to welcoming students, educators, and robotics enthusiasts from across the region. The event is free and open to the public at the VSU Multi-Purpose Center from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on all three days.