About Team 1817

Since 2006, the award winning Llano Estacado RoboRaiders (FRC Team 1817), a competitive robotics team, has offered pre-college students in the Lubbock area the chance to work side by side with Texas Tech University engineering students, faculty and community members to design and build a 150-pound finely tuned metal machine.  While the design and construction of this robot takes place over a short six-week period in the spring, the RoboRaiders provide services and opportunities year-round to students of all ages in our community.

First year rookie team at the 2006 Lone Star Regional

First year rookie team at the 2006 Lone Star Regional

The RoboRaiders are a For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) robotics team.  FIRST is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization reaching more than 37,000 students.  FIRST was founded by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, and the program and its participating teams are sponsored by companies such as NASA, National Instruments, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, DARPA and over 1000 others.

Student who participate on the team are given opportunities to develop skills they would not typically learn in traditional classrooms.  In addition to mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, manufacturing and design, students learn valuable life skills.  Working on diverse interdisciplinary teams helps develop self-confidence, teamwork, personal responsibility, community involvement and the value of initiative and dedication.  FIRST students gain more than “book smarts”; participants are real-world performers.  In fact, so many universities feel that participation in FIRST is a great predictor of success that over $11 million dollars has been offered in scholarships to participants from institutions such as Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rochester Polytechnic Institute, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

We firmly believe that the FIRST program has the best return on investment by providing students with the best tools for success in science and technology fields, and we aren’t alone.  It has been shown that students in this program are significantly more likely to go to college, particularly in a science and technology field, more likely to aspire to a post-graduate degree and 10 times more likely to have an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op in their college freshman year.


History of the Team

The Llano Estacado RoboRaiders are an award winning FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team, officially designated as FRC1817. The RoboRaiders were founded in 2006 by two Texas Tech University Electrical and Computer Engineering students, Rachel Moore and Chris David. These undergraduate students began working with Texas Tech University and Lubbock ISD faculty early in 2005 to develop a partnership to benefit students in Lubbock and the surrounding area.

Founding mentors reunited at the 2012 Dallas East Regional (from left to right): Chris David, Dr. Richard Gale, Greg Burnham, and Rachel Moore

Founding mentors reunited at the 2012 Dallas East Regional (from left to right): Chris David, Dr. Richard Gale, Greg Burnham, and Rachel Moore

Students from all over Lubbock and surrounding communities, despite high school rivalries, come together as a team on the Texas Tech campus. Together with student and faculty mentors from the Mechanical and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments, students design and build a competition robot based on a kit of standard industry parts, supplemented with off the shelf and custom designed components. Participation requires no experience; all interested students need is a good attitude, willingness to learn, and commitment to see the project through. FIRST offers unique learning opportunities to our team members, and most of our graduating seniors have decided to pursue further education. Convincing these partners to invest in this program was not an easy task, but as alumni of an internationally awarded FIRST Robotics team based in Houston, Rachel and Chris knew first-hand the extensive benefits conferred through participation in competitive robotics programs like FIRST. To make their plan happen, these two college students were able to raise the initial $15,000 needed as seed money to start the team from our founding sponsors: NASA and The Bezos Family Foundation.

RoboRaider activities extend beyond building and competing in the FIRST Robotics program; the team is actively involved with our local community. Participating in park clean-ups, blood drives, and other volunteer opportunities allows the students and mentors to help Lubbock area residents while demonstrating the importance of math, science, and technology education and careers. Community involvement is a year-round process for the team including support for local BEST and GEAR Robotics teams, offering summer camps, and special robotic field trips to regional high schools. RoboRaiders also participate in university sponsored events for pre-secondary school students, such as “Shake Hands With Your Future”, “Science: It’s a Girl’s Thing”, and “Catch the Engineering Bug”. Fundraising events afford our students a number of great opportunities to practice their “elevator speeches”, work as a team, and network with members of our community.

FRC Team 1817 is open to any student who commits to attending meetings and wants to learn. No participant will be turned away due to inability to pay fees associated with competition. In addition to our great corporate sponsors, all team members participate in regular fundraising to help offset the cost of team travel