FIRST at UVM | College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences | The University of Vermont(title)

The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, inspire innovation, and foster self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Team members share a light hearted moment during the 2024 Vermont FIRST Robotics championships

The Vermont First Tech Challenge (FTC) State Championship 

Saturday, February 10, 2024 
Lamoille Union High School in Hyde Park.

Thanks to steady growth, our championship is now a Vermont-only event. Though we will miss the competition and camaraderie that has been enjoyed with our out-of-state allies, we are excited to be moving forward with a strong program. Explore ways you can get involved!

Mentoring and volunteering


A FIRST mentor is not only a role model for the students but also a guest of the team whose role is to assist the coach and to add an outside perspective for the team members. Frequently this perspective is that of a technology expert who provides engineering support for solving technical problems. The mentor's job is not to build the robots for the teams, but to give advice, support, and encouragement to the teams. The goal of a mentor is to share wisdom with the students and to create knowledge and foster intellectual growth. Mentors may provide guidance for structuring a technical approach, help solve specific problems, assist with computer programming, set up experiments to evaluate designs, and help with problem-solving and troubleshooting. Although it is not required, mentors may also help the team out with other tasks such as giving guidance on their research assignment or helping the team with fundraisers. 


FTC events are greatly dependent on volunteers to help things run smoothly, and there is a wide range of positions available for those who want to be involved (see this link to get more information about what is possible: FTC volunteer opportunities. Not only is it a rewarding opportunity to interact with kids but the events are high energy, big entertainment displays of amazing achievement by the teams. There are three basic steps to being a volunteer:

  1. Contact Linda Schadler at
  2. Register to Volunteer
  3. Get ready to have fun
Donations and sponsorships

The FIRST Tech Challenge state championship is an annual outreach event which brings our community together to witness and celebrate the talents, creativity, and energy of students, mentors, and volunteers from all corners of Vermont and beyond.

Donations are greatly appreciated and help ensure the sustainability of this unique and powerful program. Please mail checks to:

Attn: Monika Ursiny
Votey Hall, UVM
33 Colchester Avenue
Burlington, VT 05405

If you are interested in establishing or contributing to a FIRST at UVM scholarship, please contact:
Max Seeland, UVM Foundation director of CEMS gifts, at


General inquiries

Mailing address

Votey Hall, UVM
33 Colchester Avenue
Burlington, VT 05405

Frequently asked questions

What is first?

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

What is UVM's involvement?

UVM is the state Program Delivery Partner for FIRST Technical Challenge. The PDP organizes the annual competition and supports teams throughout the year.

What is FTC?

FTC is the FIRST Technical Challenge state championship. Teams of up to 15 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. Teams are comprised of 7-12th graders. 

Who can compete?

For the FIRST@UVM event, any group of students in middle and high school can form a team for the challenge. Teams consist of up to 15 students and can have any affiliation - common school or homeschoolers, boy scouts, girl scouts, 4-H, etc. Teams require mentors, sponsors, and passionate students.

To register an FTC team:

  1. First register your team at FIRST
  2. Once registered at FIRST, you are eligible to register for the Vermont State Competition

What is the game? What are the rules?

Game rules, information about the playing field, scoring instructions and more are available from FIRST.

Who can register for this challenge?

There is a cap of 32 teams. Priority will be given to Vermont teams.

How can I volunteer?

We need many volunteers to make this a success for the students involved. There are many roles to fill. To help with all aspects of the competition, please see the mentoring and volunteering section of this page.

Is there any other information about local involvement in FIRST?

Watch this Across the Fence segment on FIRST.