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STEM Competitions

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We Do STEM Competitions

NOVA SySTEMic has built a solid reputation in Northern Virginia for supporting, organizing, and hosting stellar robotics competitions, where students and teachers have the platform to develop and refine their STEM talents. Research shows that students who participate in STEM competitions are more likely to pursue a STEM degree. In addition to robotics, we support competitions such as AFA CyberPatriot, the Cool Code Awards, and many Science Fairs, but our primary focus is VEX Robotics.

Why VEX?

We support VEX in Virginia because it is integrated into many of the school divisions through PLTW, Scouts, and TSA, making it an excellent platform to get students started in STEM so that they are prepared beyond our camps and competitions. Students who participate in VEX robotics demonstrate several qualities we strive to teach such as teamwork, collaboration, creativity in problem-solving, communication, critical thinking skills, and time management. It is an all-encompassing gateway to future STEM programs, degrees, and careers!

Community VEX Robotics Team

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Looking for a robotics team for your 4th-12th grade child? Join our community-based VEX IQ (elementary and middle school) and VEX Robotics (middle and high school) teams for the 2020-2021 school year in Manassas, Alexandria, and Loudoun! These teams will compete in the VEX IQ Challenge or VEX Robotics Competition.

Community teams will meet for 3 sessions including Summer (July-Sept), Fall (Oct-Dec), and Winter (Jan-Mar). In response to COVID 19, the summer session will be a hybrid of virtual instruction and team-building with physical robotics kits sent home with each student. Registration is available now, see below for additional details.

Sign up now at vexcommunityteam.novastem.us/register

More Info:

Contact NOVA SySTEMic at systemic@nvcc.edu 

View the Community Team Powerpoint Presentation.

VEX Robotics Signature Events

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We operate signature robotics events at the local, state, and national levels. Three signature events we are known for our Night at the Museum, the VA VEX Robotics State Championship, and the Northern Virginia VEX IQ League


Night at the Museum is a two-day VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) signature event at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA in January. Teams qualify for this event by winning the Excellence, Design, or Robot Skills awards or as Tournament Champions in regional competitions. 60 high school teams from around the nation will compete for 3 VEX World Championship spots later in the year.

To register and for more info click here.

To volunteer at NATM click here.

NATM Infographic Map
Check out our 2020 NATM national participation infographic here.

Photo Gallery
NATM20 Password: natm20
NATM19 Password: natm19

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In March we run the Virginia VEX State Championship (called States), the culminating robotics event in the Commonwealth that celebrates the hard work of students and mentors who have competed to qualify throughout the robotics competition season (November through February). States invites 140 of the best teams to compete for a chance to represent Virginia at the VEX World Championship in April. This is a great opportunity to reach students who are passionate about STEM! There are two VEX platforms at States, VIQC (plastic-based robots, elementary & middle school divisions) and VRC (metal-based robots, middle and high school divisions).

VIQC Elementary
VIQC Middle School
VRC Middle School
VRC High School

To volunteer at States20 click here.

Photo Gallery
States20 Password: vex20
States19 Password: vex19
States18 Password: vex18
States17 Password: vex17


Community VEX IQ teams from NOVA and area schools participate in the NOVA VEX IQ League, which is open to area VEX IQ elementary and middle school teams from public and private organizations. Teams compete one Saturday a month from October to February that culminates with the League Championship.

At each session, teams participate in teamwork matches where they are paired with a random partner and work together to score as many points as they can and skills challenges where teams compete on their own to score what they can in driving and autonomous programming.

Throughout the season, teams improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their robot designs and try to increase their position in the league rankings. Four teams from this league earned spots at the State Championship this past season.

Interested in Joining the League?

Registration Info

Contact NOVA SySTEMic at systemic@nvcc.edu

Supporting Robotics & the Community

VEX Robotics is a collaboration of many partners and volunteers in the region. If you or your organization are interested in getting involved check out the opportunities below.

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Volunteers are a key component to the success of our program because they help make events safe and enjoyable for all participants. We need industry professionals and college students in many capacities to influence and act as role models, particularly as competition judges and referees. Competitions are also a great networking opportunity to engage students who are pursuing engineering and computer science.

Click here to volunteer at Night at the Museum (NATM20).

Click here to volunteer at States20.

For questions about volunteer opportunities contact NOVA SySTEMic at systemic@nvcc.edu

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Through financial sponsorship, you make it possible for us to support the 500+ VEX teams in Virginia. Your support keeps our event partner and volunteer training free to all, reduces entry fees for signature events, stocks 3 competition trailers for use throughout the region and supports community teams that don’t have a local school or organization to host them. Companies often provide prizes with tournament awards and giveaways for each participant such as flash drives or power packs.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Night at the Museum:
10K Signature Champion
5K Competition Advocate
2.5K Skills Developer
1K Giveaway Provider

State Championship:
10K Presenting Sponsor
5K Skills Challenge Sponsor
2K Field Sponsor
1K Lunch Sponsor
$500 Breakfast Sponsor

Trailer Sponsor:
5K Regional Sponsor
2.5K Tournament Sponsor
1K Training Sponsor

Community Teams:
2K Gold Sponsor
1K Silver Sponsor
$500 Bronze Sponsor

Interested in Sponsoring?
Please contact Josh Labrie at 703.530.2829 or jlabrie@nvcc.edu

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We host free VEX Robotics training sessions to assist individuals, organizations, and teams running competitions. This consists of 2-part meetings to prepare and equip partners for their events: Part 1 Planning the Event, centers on reserving a space, preparing equipment, and setting up teams to register. Part 2, Running the Event, is focused on setting up fields, camera use, and logistics.

We also provide training for those who want to be Head Judges, Head Referees, Field Referees as well as general training on competition equipment setup and tournament manager setup. Some volunteer training is only needed on the day of the event.

For more info contact NOVA SySTEMic at systemic@nvcc.edu

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We rent competition trailers: two 16ft VRC trailers and one 14ft VIQC trailer that are equipped to run a small to medium event. STEM Interns are available as optional extras to set up, run, and pack equipment.

Other STEM Competitions

We also support non-robotics STEM competitions including the Cool Code Awards and the NOVA Innovation Hackathon.

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We support the Cool Code Awards, the ultimate coding competition for elementary, middle, and high school students in the region. Individuals or teams of students are invited to compete by building an app, game, web tool, or cool gadget that runs on Raspberry, Arduino, or other related micro-computing devices. More info at www.coolcode.co.

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NOVA helps run the Innovation Hackathon, a 36-hour-long competition where hundreds of college and high school students legally hack computer systems and simulated firewalls in a set of challenges posed by local cyber companies. It’s a programming event and job fair rolled into one!

Next Hackathon:
Spring 2020
NOVA Woodbridge Campus
Workforce Regional Center

* Registration is coming in Spring 2020.