Frequently Asked Questions

What does growingSTEMS stand for?

growing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Students! We aim to provide experiences that will help the students grow in STEM related areas.


Are my donations tax deductible?

All donations made to growingSTEMS (a 501(c)(3) federally recognized nonprofit organization – EIN 46-0573936) are tax deductible. If you would like a donation receipt for tax purposes, please submit your request to info@growingstems.org and we would be more then happy to provide you with one.


Are there any prerequisites?

The only prerequisite for joining any of our programs is the willingness to learn and be part of a team. No prior training or robotics experience is required, everyone is encouraged to apply and become a STEM student!


What program would my child be involved with?

growingSTEMS offers 4 levels of programs for all students grades 3rd through 12th, no matter the school or educational program.

  • VEX GO. – 3rd through 4th grade (ages 8-9)
  • VEX IQ – 5th through 7th grade (ages 10-12)
  • FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) – 7th through 9th grade (ages 12-14)
  • FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) – 9th through 12th grade (ages 14-18)

While there is some overlap of program grade ranges, we reserve the right to direct students in that overlap area to specific programs.


When is enrollment and how do I register?

Enrollment periods vary between the three programs as their competition seasons are different times of the year. The below are generalized dates that are subject to change based on team / program enrollment rates.

  • VEX GO – June through August
  • VEX IQ – June through August
  • FTC – June through August
  • FRC – June through December

You can check to see if programs are open for enrollment on our signup page – 

More up to date information will be posted on this website and through out social media pages. If you would like to be added to our mailing list and receive emails about open enrollment, please send word to info@growingstems.org.


How much does it cost?
  • VEX GO – $100 Registration Fee
  • VEX IQ – $200 Registration Fee
  • FTC – $350 Registration Fee + Travel Expenses (~$100/year depending on competition selection)
  • FRC – $400 Registration Fee + Travel Expenses (~$500/year depending on competition selection)

Are you part of the STEM Academy / School System?

growingSTEMS has no affiliation with the St. Mary’s County Public School System / STEM Academy. We are a external organization aimed at providing a STEM experience to all children , no matter their school.


Is this Battle Bots!?

The majority of our community robotics programs that growingSTEMS offer are focused around non-combat robotics. These robots are designed and built are for educational purposes and compete in friendly competitions designed to achieve a singular purpose or compete in a international competition. 

As of the summer of 2021 growingSTEMS has offered a small Combat Robotics summer program for interested participants.