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FEATURE ARTICLE
Women in STEM Breakfast Sponsored by Rolls-Royce
February 2020

Elizabeth Lindsey, Executive Director of Byte Back in Washington, DC, was honored recently with the Reaching for the Stars: Outstanding Women in STEM Award at the second annual Women in STEM Breakfast hosted by FIRST Chesapeake Robotics and sponsored by Rolls-Royce. FIRST Chesapeake recognized the work of Elizabeth Lindsey in advancing tech opportunities for women, helping thousands of people thrive in a digital society, creating pathways to living – wage careers, and influencing a shift toward a diverse and inclusive tech sector.

Attended by 100 of the most influential members of the STEM community, Rolls-Royce was the title sponsor for the Women in STEM Breakfast. Rolls-Royce representative and FIRST Chesapeake Board Member, Dean Roberts, said, “As a longtime supporter of FIRST Chesapeake, Rolls-Royce is proud to celebrate both Elizabeth Lindsey and the Women in STEM Dominion Energy scholarship recipients. Diversity and inclusion promote the standards of excellence that have always been associated with the Rolls-Royce brand. We know diverse teams produce the best results in business, and Rolls-Royce is invested in promoting a diverse workforce for the future.”

Leighann Scott Boland, Executive Director of FIRST Chesapeake, noted, “FIRST Chesapeake is committed to bringing high-quality robotics programs to middle and high school students and to fostering an inclusive environment for our students, alumni, adult mentors and volunteers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Our 300+ robotics teams and 3,500+ volunteers reflect the diversity of the FIRST Chesapeake community. Ms. Lindsey’s work to promote expanded opportunities for women goes to the heart of our mission to help build tomorrow’s technology leaders.”

FIRST Chesapeake proudly boasts a 48% female participation rate among its team members, volunteers, and team mentors. In order to foster ever-increasing female participation and recognition for its female team members, FIRST Chesapeake has partnered with Dominion Energy which sponsored the Reaching for the Stars: Women in STEM Scholarships for three outstanding young women associated with FIRST teams: Reyna Vrbensky from Edgewater, MD; Eliana Bavuso from Weems, VA, and Shannon Filer from Troutsville, VA.

As the Primary Scholarship recipient, Reyna Vrbensky will receive a $3,000 scholarship sponsored by Dominion Energy to the school of her choice. Reyna has been involved with the FIRST program throughout high school. Outside of her work with her team, Power Hawks Robotics in Edgewater, Maryland, she has served as a mentor and instructor leading LEGO Robotics programs for children with special needs and has started her own program called “Lend-a-Limb.”

The Women in STEM event also featured robotics demonstrations by some members of FIRST teams, including Reyna Vrbensky’s team, the Power Hawks. The Robotics Showcase was sponsored by Dominion Energy and gave the students an opportunity to share the results of their hard work and their passion for FIRST Robotics.

Cristie Neller, an executive with the Gas Infrastructure Group for Dominion Energy and a FIRST Chesapeake Board Member said, “FIRST Chesapeake is working to build the tech sector workforce of tomorrow and Dominion Energy enthusiastically supports these innovators, especially young women, who are already the technology leaders of the future.”

Dominion Energy is also a title sponsor for FIRST Chesapeake District Richmond, VA Event, March 6-8, 2020, and inspires their team members to become FIRST Chesapeake volunteers.

About FIRST ® Chesapeake
Virginia FIRST dba FIRST Chesapeake administers the FIRST Tech Challenge Program in Virginia and the FIRST Robotics Competition Program for the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Each year, FIRST Chesapeake directly impacts over 7,000 middle and high school students through robotics workshops and competitions. Over 50,000 individuals attend 20+ FIRST Chesapeake robotics competitions from December through April each year. To learn more about FIRST Chesapeake, go to www.firstchesapeake.org.

FIRST Chesapeake will be hosting seven robotics competitions throughout the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area in February and March and will host the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding at the Hampton Coliseum April 3-5, 2020. FIRST Chesapeake events are free and open to the public.

About FIRST ®
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST ® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $80 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST ® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST ® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST ® LEGO ® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST ® LEGO ® League Jr. for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism ® is a way of doing things that encourages high quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.firstinspires.org.


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