About Our Team

SUMrobotics is a FIRST Robotics Competition team (Team 6003) founded with the belief that all students, especially those from rural areas, deserve the opportunity to develop a passion for STEM fields.  SUMrobotics provides a rich experiential learning opportunity for over twenty Harnett County, NC students who work collaboratively to respond to hands-on design challenges while developing mechanical, electrical, and programming skills.

The FIRST Robotics Competition season kicks off in January with a robot design challenge and culminates in March with Regional, District, and FIRST Championship events.  During this time, SUMrobotics Team 6003 works together to brainstorm, design, prototype, test, and build a robot for competition.  Along the way, students gain valuable STEM skills such as understanding the engineering design process, the cost of design production, and working within the constraints of limited design and build time; as well as invaluable lifelong skills like problem solving, time management, conflict resolution, and communication.

SUMrobotics meets students where they are and welcomes students of all levels of experience.  Our team is determined to make STEM accessible; as such, there is no fee to join the team.  The team is made up of deep thinkers who are passionate about STEM and who, through community service activities, serve as role models and inspiration for local K-8 students.




Founded in 1989, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) sparks young peoples’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills (Vision and Mission, FIRST 2016).  FIRST K-12 programming includes FIRST Lego League Jr. for grades K-4, FIRST Lego League for grades 4-8, FIRST Tech Challenge for grades 7-12, and FIRST Robotics Competition for grades 9-12.

The FIRST Robotics Competition

FIRST Robotics Competition is an international high school robotics competition of 3,400 teams and 85,000 participants (At a Glance, FIRST 2016).

“Under strict rules, limited resources, and the guidance of volunteer mentors including engineers, teachers, business professionals, parents, alumni and more, teams of 25+ students have just six weeks to build and program robots to perform challenging tasks against a field of competitors. They must also raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and perform community outreach. In addition to learning valuable STEM and life skills, participants are eligible to apply for $25+ million in college scholarships.” (What is FIRST Robotics Competition? FIRST 2016)

Learn more about FIRST Robotics Competition at:


Lessons Learned from the 2015/2016 Rookie Season

1. There is a wonderful network of support among all the teams and the lead mentors. Other leaders and especially Marie Hopper are your friends and happy to help! We are truly thankful for Marie, Marshall Massengill, David Page, Mr. Young, Joe Lossi, and Linda Whipker to name a few of the amazing mentors in NC.

2. Team t-shirts, buttons, and wristbands really do matter to team morale, team bonding, and team acceptance into the FIRST community. Plus, they are fun!

3. Attend the kick-off help sessions.. They really are very helpful!

4. While lathes, mills, and Shopbots are glamorous and fun, you can have a very successful season with just a drill press, band saw, mitre saw, and lots of hand tools.

5. Build season doesn’t have to take up all your time. It is OK and necessary to take two days off per week.

6.Don’t use Groupme or Slack as your primary communication tools unless you can set them to mute and remember to check them on a regular basis.

7. 3D printed parts are effective and fun to make!