For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology
It is not the literal meaning of FIRST that is important, it is the global understanding or a set of goals that are pertinent. These goals can be separated into a few major groups such as teaching gracious professionalism, leadership, teamwork and the importance of science and technology to the youth of the world. FIRST wants to get kids around the globe exited about the future of the world and knowing that they can make a difference by perusing a career in the many fields of science and technology such as mechanical, electrical engineering and computer science.
FIRST was officially founded by Dean Kamen in 1989. Kamen was already famous for engineering innovations such as the Segway and the Eye-Bot and felt that he could use this fame to better the future of the technological world. Kamen saw a problem with the current society, he felt that kids were being taught the wrong things to aspire to in life. Sports and pop-culture were setting a bad example for kids, and sending the message that becoming a professional sports player was a better career path, then seeking a career in science and technology and bettering the world. Kamen started FIRST with a few teams in the Massachusetts area working in a single college room.
Since then FIRST has become huge, with more than 50,000 participants from over 2300 teams competing in over 50 regional competitions all over the world and 1 national competition. FIRST has affected millions of kids of all ages, by showing them that a career in science and technology can open the door to a successful future and a way to make society better as a whole. These high school students will go on to become the engineers and scientists of tomorrow, making the next great technological revolutions.
FIRST teams are comprised of high school students who ally with engineer mentors (and non-engineering mentors), corporate sponsors and volunteers to create a robot that must perform a non-trivial task. This task changes every year and is gradually getting more and more complex forcing innovative thinking and strategy. The robots compete in regional competitions and a national competition where they go head to head against other FIRST teams. Although winning the competitions are celebrated, the main focus is not on competition. It is to achieve the aforementioned goals of changing society and teaching teamwork, leadership and creativity.
Not only does FIRST Robotics enable students to become better leaders but enables students to take part in careers that include science and engineering. FIRST Robotics is also a great opportunity for students to get scholarships for certain colleges. FIRST robotics offers over 800 scholarship opportunities to more than 100 scholarship institutions across America.
The future of FIRST is a very bright one. More and more kids from all over the world are coming together with corporate sponsors and mentors to create FIRST teams. The message of FIRST is spreading and having a tremendous impact on society. We look forward to the up and coming games and hope that FIRST will continue to grow at it's phenomenal rate and change the lives of students all over the world.
"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