Kilroy Robotics program for high school students regroups, looks for new leadership

Kilroy Robotics program for high school students regroups, looks for new leadership

Kilroy Robotics has been a part of the FIRST robotics community for 24 years. It has been involved with three of the four levels of competition, hosting tournaments for FIRST LEGO League (9–14), fielding two FIRST Tech Challenge teams (13–18) and competing at the high school level, FIRST Robotics Competition.

The program is open to public high school students from Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George and Caroline counties. Over the years the club has worked to maintain as much as possible, a 50–50 male-female ratio and has had more female captains than male. Club members and mentors have won numerous awards for mechanical design, programming, business plans, creativity, spirit and inspiring others to consider STEM careers. It has won awards at every level: local district qualifiers, District Championship and World Championships. Over its 24 years, there have only been three years in which the club did not win any awards—the first year and the last two.

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COVID hit the club hard, and now it is trying to regroup and recruit new leadership. Kilroy’s founder and head coach is leaving at the end of August, and the club needs to find two people to replace him: one person associated with one of the school systems to administer the team and another to help design and build a new robot every year.

The administrator keeps all records of the team, arranges transportation and housing for competitions (3 to 6 each year), supplies permission forms for travel, mentors social media and fundraising, schedules demonstrations at middle and elementary schools, and acts as liaison between Commonwealth Governors School and Kilroy. No knowledge of robotics is needed.

The design and build mentor teaches basic mechanical principles (gear ratios, weight distribution, motors, pneumatics), CAD and CAM, and helps students to design and build a new robot every year. The machine shop at Night Vision Lab at Fort Belvoir sponsors the club by making parts; club members can design parts in CAD, send the files to Night Vision and have parts back usually within a few days. The club has its own small machine shop with drill presses, band saws and sanders, as well as power tools.

For information regarding the FIRST organization and the level of competition at which Kilroy competes, visit

To contact the club about filling the leadership positions, email Dave Shotwell at [email protected].