LEAP gives FIRST Robotics teams a chance to put their skills to use in the real world, and shows high school students that they don't have to wait until after college to make a real a difference in their community through engineering.


FIRST Robotics provides opportunities for high school students to develop interest and skills in engineering; however, in the heat of the competition, the primary intent of this program can be obscured. As a result, we developed a program that encourages students to apply their engineering skills to make a difference in their communities.

Linking Engineering and Philanthropy (LEAP) is an off season event for FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams designed to get students to apply their engineering skills to real-world problems in their communities. Over the course of a three month competition beginning in September, teams research, design, and prototype a solution to a given humanitarian problem provided by a partnering nonprofit. As FIRST likes to say, “It’s more than just robots.” 

By the end of a LEAP competition, teams will have fleshed out a tangible product or design to improves their community, but LEAP has an impact far beyond the single invention that teams come up with for the competition. Once teams have competed in LEAP, they will be able to further their project and implement in their communities on a larger scale. Through LEAP, students will have the necessary experience in developing and inventing for their own community, what we like to call, "Community Engineering."

LEAP 2018


In LEAP 2018, teams with be challenged to create a solution to a humanitarian problem by Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organization. Autodesk is graciously providing the prizes to the teams with the top three solutions.

Register for LEAP 2018

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LEAP 2017 Results

FIRST Robotics Teams do more than just build robots. In an intense week-long competition, PNW FRC teams designed and presented ideas to create a new vision for OMSI and the Center For Innovation in order to attract and educate teens in STEM. The LEAP (Linking Engineering and Philanthropy) competition was organized by Team 1540, hosted by OMSI, and prizes provided by Autodesk.


FRC Team 4488 Shockwave from Glencoe High School, in Hillsboro, was awarded the 1st place prize and $4000. Their winning proposal was entitled Escape Hall and was a multi-part escape room with the theme of Engineering Through Time. Team 4488 detailed the concept and designed a series of challenges for each of the rooms that combines the fun of team challenges while advancing STEM concepts and how they have progressed through time.

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AEMBot 6443 from Liberty High School, Hillsboro, was awarded 2nd place and $2000.  Their proposal was entitled A New Age incorporates fun activities such as a scavenger hunt, drone racing, VR gaming, 3D modeling, logo creation, film making, electrical engineering, programming, and the online communication format in Discord to engage and continue to bring students to OMSI. Through these activities, teens are able to learn about STEM while experiencing a hands on and collaborative environment. 

3rd place was a tie between the Cloverbots 3675 from Battle Ground, Washington, who was awarded $1000, and the event organizer Flaming Chickens 1540 of Portland.  4th place and honorable mention went to Beavertronics 5970, from Beaverton.


LEAP 2017 Schedule:

Saturday 10/21 - Kickoff at FIRSTFare at Gladstone
10/21 - 10/29 - Teams work on solutions
Sunday 10/29 - LEAP Finale at OMSI
    4:00pm Doors open at OMSI's Auditorium for setup
    4:30pm Teams randomly assigned speaking order and judge intros
    4:45pm Teams deliver their <7 minute pitches followed by Q&A, Shark Tank Style
    6:00pm (ish) Judges deliberate.  May interact briefly with teams in their “pits” if clarification needed.
    6:30pm Winners Announced
    6:40pm Teams load out


What to Bring:

  • Wear your FRC shirts

  • Eight copies of single sheet project summary.  Include at a minimum:

    • Picture of team (in FRC shirts.)

    • FRC team logo/number

    • Description of solution

    • Any other pictures or graphics

  • If using Video, PowerPoint, etc. bring a computer to project with.  Have everything downloaded, don’t assume Wi-Fi.

  • Any other models or props.

  • CAD files on flash drive (if CAD is used) to be given to judges.  Put your team number on it if you want it back.


Autodesk has generously offered $7000 in prize money to the top three winners of LEAP 2017.

The prize breakdown for the top three teams are 1st - $4000, 2nd - $2000, 3rd - $1000