Nova-Labs Robotics (formerly Herndon Robotics) was established in 2009 to support our local FIRST robotics teams.   The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.  Our program was founded to support the FIRST mission and develop a sustainable ecosystem to allow our community to participate in the full life-cycle of FIRST programs including FLL, FTC and FRC.

In 2013, Herndon Robotics merged its robotics program with Nova-Labs, a non-profit maker-space that provides the space and tools to grow a community where enthusiastic collaborators of any skill level can converge to make things. Nova-Labs Robotics has the space, tools and volunteers to help expand our program even further.

Besides the FIRST Robotics programs, Nova-Labs can now support many educational robotics programs to help kids through-out the communities we serve.

Nova Labs, Inc. is nonprofit corporation managed by a Board of Directors and organized exclusively for educational and scientific purposes as defined by section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  All donations submitted to Nova Labs are tax deductible.


Our vision is to help kids learn robotics and have fun developing skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).


Our mission is threefold:

  • To promote robotics education and fun for kids of all ages
  • To develop a sustainable program to allow kids to participate in FIRST sponsored programs (Jr. FLL, FLL, FTC, and FRC); and,
  • To serve as a technology-based youth development organization to help draw more kids into STEM related careers.

Program Structure

Nova-Labs Robotics is aligned with FIRST but we run our program much like a scouting program.   Our organization is open to anyone – we make the process of finding and forming teams much easier.  We have meetings in larger groups/packs where we pool resources/coaches/mentors and teach the kids the principles that all FIRST team participants need to know (MindStorm robotics/sensors, engineering/design/building, programming/psuedo-code/logic, research/presentation, and other cool STEM principles), then we break into smaller groups/dens (< 10 kids/team) to develop individual team strategy and project concepts for the competitive portion.  We fully support FIRST’s concept of COOPERTITION!

This is our 5th year running – last year we had 4 teams and almost 40 kids in the FLL age range and another 10 kids under the Jr. FLL program.  This year we helped form 5 teams for the FLL program and our first FTC team for grades 7 through 12.  Surprisingly, as with scouting, the scaling just works out…  When we get an additional surge of interest we almost always get at least one parent willing to jump in for every 8 kids that want to sign up.  It’s mathematical karma.  Ultimately our ability to expand this program is directly related to the parents we have volunteer to help out.  Parent involvement is critical – just like in scouting.  We don’t turn away anyone unless we can’t get a parent to coach the overflow – and that hasn’t happened yet.


1916 Isaac Newton Square W
Reston, VA 20190
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FIRST, JR.FLL, FLL, FTC, FRC, COOPERTITION, GRACIOUS PROFESSIONALISM are registered trademarks of United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology AKA US FIRST CORPORATION. USFIRST trademarks and logos used with permission as a USFIRST team. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.