What is FIRST?
“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”– Dean Kamen, Founder
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST is a not-for-profit, public charity organization incorporated in the State of New Hampshire. A volunteer-driven organization, FIRST is built on partnerships with individuals as well as businesses, educational institutions, and government. Some of the world’s most respected companies provide: funding, mentor-ship, time, talent, and equipment to make FIRST’s mission a reality. There are over 45,000 committed and effective volunteers who are vital to introducing 100,000 youths to the joy of problem solving through engineering.
Since 1992, the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) has challenged high school students working with professional mentors to solve an engineering design problem in an intense and competitive way. Not only is the program is a life-changing, career molding experience; it’s also a lot of fun! In 2006, the competition reached more than 28,000 students on 1,133 teams in 33 regional competitions and one Championship event. Not only are there hundreds of teams in the United States, there are also teams that come from Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Israel, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
FIRST provides high schools students with the ability to put their education to use in the real world. They apply their skills throughout each season to better themselves, minds, and life. FIRST offers over $14.8 million in scholarship funding that allows students such as from FIRST Team 195 to attend colleges such as Cornell University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
FIRST not only inspires the teachings of science, engineering, and technology, but as well as essential life skills and values. FIRST is prominent in expressing the thoughts and values of coopertition as well as gracious professionalism.
Coopertition is a popular theme among competitions, and is extremely important. Coopertition is achieved by encouraging not only yourself, but other teams to work together for a greater cause. Coopertition emphasizes high-quality work while maintaining a strong relationship with others even when in the face of fierce competition. Teams should always treat others with the utmost respect, promote learning, and encourage great working relations. Likewise, Gracious Professionalism emphatically enforces good sportsmanship. Teams should always be seeking a way to maintain their integrity through the use of gracious professionalism. This means not gloating over a victory, or an award, but representing your achievement as an effort for all of FIRST.