Why We’re Teaching Other Kids the Building Blocks of Programming and Collaboration

Dec 04, 2018 By Sanjay and Arvind Seshan, FIRST LEGO League Alumni, Coaches, & Volunteers

FIRST LEGO League Alumni Sanjay and Arvind Seshan are experienced computer science educators–and they haven’t even graduated high school yet. In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, we’re sharing how the brothers help students, teachers, and coaches learn coding with LEGO MINDSTORMS.

Scholarship Provider: Syracuse University

Dec 03, 2018 Written by FIRST Alum and Syracuse Student, Nate Kuhl

My experiences with FIRST inspired my strong interest in robotics, which I have continued to pursue in college.

Hotels, Hotels, Hotels, and FIRST Choice

Nov 30, 2018 Written by Frank Merrick.

Be sure to check out all the great housing opportunities that are now available, plus FIRST Choice Round 1 priority lists are locked in on Wednesday, December 5 at Noon Eastern!

Head Referee Feb. 8 2019| 0 KB

Content Type:

The Head Referee for FIRST Robotic Competition is a Key Volunteer position. They are in a high visibility leadership position that is responsible for training, directing, and supervising all Referees and Official Scorers. In collaboration with the FIRST Technical Advisor (FTA), oversees all scoring processes and procedures. Works and interacts with students, volunteers, and contracted/FIRST staff, displaying Gracious Professionalism even in stressful situations. This physical role, positioned along the field border, has final authority for decisions regarding match scores. Plays a critical role in ensuring smooth flow of match play, facilitating a positive and fair environment for all competitors, and maintaining the pace of the event.

The Head Referee is nominated by the Volunteer Coordinator. Once nominated, the individual must be approved through FIRST; including the Chief Referee. Once approved the candidate will be contacted and assigned by FIRST Headquarters.

*Must sign a Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement prior to start of service.


  • Facilitate a positive and fair competition environment for all participants
  • Monitor and promote safe practices on and around the playing field leading by example
  • Wear provided Head Referee shirt and safety glasses when in the arena
  • Supervise Referees and Official Scorers, work with Volunteer Coordinator prior to event to ensure all roles are filled and certified
  • Observe matches, "call" rule infractions
  • Obtain a radio from event management office to keep aware of event information and issues, return it to office at end of day 
  • Lead score deliberations, if necessary, and make final decisions regarding match scores or contested penalties
  • Participate in deliberations with the FTA, Field Supervisor, and Lead Robot Inspector regarding robot-related issues as required
  • Secure and distributes referee supplies, pack Referee case at conclusion of event
  • The Head Referee is responsible for conducting a conference call for the Referees before the event begins (approx. 1 week before the event begins)
  • Attend Head Referee training by teleconference and training at FIRST HQ (approx. bi-annually)
  • Attend daily morning meeting conducted by Event Manager/Coordinator (when requested)

Experience and Skills Needed

  • Must be at least 23 years of age at time of service (Exceptions may be granted by FIRST Headquarters)
  • Four (4) prior years of FIRST referee experience
  • Demonstrate diplomacy and authority; be assertive, but tactful
  • Thorough knowledge of the competition game and rules of play, including staying up-to-date with Team Updates (must pass two online certifications by the deadlines established by the Chief Referee each season)
  • Approachable personality; high energy
  • Strong communication, diplomacy skills
  • Self-directed individual
  • Ability to collaborate with others, work as a member of a team
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to move about the field and stand for long periods of time
  • Strong assessment skills

Volunteer Time Commitment

  • Attendance at the Head Ref training approximately every other year
  • Pre-event training
  • Must pass online Head Referee & Referee certifications by the deadline set by FIRST headquarters
  • Minimum 2 full day commitment (Districts)
  • Minimum 3 full day commitment (Regionals)

Note: Event schedules vary. Please check the event schedule and talk to your Volunteer Coordinator for detailed information on when you are expected to arrive. Volunteers should arrive on site 15-20 minutes prior to the start of every shift to allow time to check in at the Volunteer Registration table.


Provided by FIRST headquarters prior to start of competition season. Includes: live and/or recorded web conferences, teleconference(s), manual and other support materials, email communications, and/or one-on-one support.. First-year Head Referees may be required to have a veteran Head Referee on-site.

Reporting Relationships and Supervision

On-site guidance: Volunteer Coordinator
Support by FIRST Technical Advisor, Chief Referee and designated FIRST headquarters contact


* Must read and comply with the FIRST Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities

Join Us for a Computer Science Education Week Special Twitch Episode

Nov 29, 2018 Written by Jacob Komar, FIRSTtv Producer.

Join us on Wednesday, December 5 at Noon ET for a special "Let's Build" show in celebration of Computer Science Education Week.

TE Connectivity Invests in Strategic Partnership with FIRST to Increase STEM Access for All Students

Global Connector and Sensor Company Expands its Decades-long Support of the Nonprofit’s K-12 Robotics Programs


Blake Moret

Blake Moret

Chairman & CEO, Rockwell Automation

Blake Moret is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rockwell Automation. He assumed the role on July 1, 2016.

As Chairman and CEO, Blake leads the world’s largest company focused on industrial automation and information, dedicated to making our customers more productive and the world more sustainable. He is passionate about our vision of The Connected Enterprise and is leading its acceleration through innovation and an in-depth knowledge of our customers’ business needs. Blake has proven himself to be an exceptional leader with a deep understanding of the company’s values, culture, people, technology, and customers.

In his previous role, Blake served five years as senior vice president of Control Products and Solutions (CP&S), one of the company’s two business segments.

Blake has 31 years of broad experience with the company including leadership roles in marketing, solutions, services, and product groups. He began his career in 1985 as a sales trainee, and subsequently served in senior positions across the organization, including international assignments in Europe and Canada.

Blake is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He is currently a member of the PTC, Inc. Board of Directors. After serving as the Chairman of National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Manufacturing Institute, he retains his Executive Committee position. Additionally, Blake is a member of the Business Roundtable and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

Rockwell Automation has been a FIRST Strategic Partner since 2008 and received the FIRST Founder’s Award in 2013.