RoboLoCo, the Academies of Loudoun’s FIRST Robotics Competition team, has qualified for the 2023 FIRST Championship by winning the FIRST Impact Award, which honors the team that inspires science and technology learning and increases the accessibility of STEM education programs. 

    To achieve the Impact Award, Team RoboLoCo shared their excitement about science and technology learning at a variety of events and engaged with students and educators across Loudoun County and beyond. 

    In the fall, RoboLoCo created and published “Gerald and His Robot,” a robot-themed children's picture book that highlights the importance of teamwork and teaches readers about engineering fundamentals. RoboLoCo shared “Gerald and His Robot” at four of Loudoun Literacy Council’s fall book parties, reaching 400 underserved preschoolers, elementary school students and family members.

    To increase STEM opportunities and promote competitive robotics, RoboLoCo mentors The Thunderbolts, a new robotics team at Lightridge High School. They have also helped start two FIRST LEGO League Explore teams and organized workshops for over 40 FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams. 

    RoboLoCo launched a STEM advocacy podcast, “Robocast,” interviewing STEM professionals about their experiences and encouraging them to share advice with students pursuing STEM careers. “Robocast” has allowed RoboLoCo to increase awareness of STEM equity gaps and connect with FIRST teams worldwide, such as Cerbotics 4400 from Mexico.

    The 2023 FIRST Championship is April 19-22 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.