The Mission of FIRST
FIRST is an acronym for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology" and was founded 13 years ago by Dean Kamen (He also invented the Segway, as well as the iBOT Independence wheelchair and many other inventions in the medical field). The purpose of FIRST is to educate high school age students about the growing fields of math, science, and technology through a fun and engaging robotics competition. It also provides for a chance for students to meet one-on-one with real industry leaders, engineers, and more through the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), a chance that without FRC would not have been made available. It originally comprised of 28 teams from the New England area, competing in a New Hampshire high school gymnasium. The initial success spurred rapid growth to include 28,000 students, 1,300 teams, 37 Regional Events, and a National Championships in Atlanta, Georgia that show no signs of stopping. In addition to teams in the United States, FRC has also expanded to Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Great Britain, Israel, and more.
FIRST teaches the principal of gracious professionalism. Gracious professionalism has purposely been left undefined by FIRST however, it is "the moral values" behind FRC. But basically it teaches students that although they can be opponents on the competition field, they are not enemies, and you treat each other with respect. Examples of this are if one team smokes a drive motor at a competition, you'd be a gracious professional to offer them one of your spare ones; for although you may compete head-to-head next match, respect gets respect. This is not something that is practiced in traditional sports, but is essential to society.
Also, through FRC, more than $8.000,000 dollars worth of scholarships are available, including some 4-year fully paid scholarships to such colleges and universities as WPI (Western Massachusetts Polytechnic Institute) or through organizations such as ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) or Society of Women Engineers. More and more high schools are now offering FRC teams, and many are now being offered as genuine varsity sports teams.
More Information About FIRST
- The Vision and Theory of FIRST - Learn more about the vision behind FIRST.
- The Impact of FIRST - Learn more about how FIRST inspires students to science, technology, and engineering, the academic success stories of schools involved with FIRST, and how companies and individuals around the world have been touched by this program.
- FRC: At a Glance - Learn some quick facts about the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)
- FTC: At a Glance - Learn more about the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)
- FLL: At a Glance - Learn about the largest of FIRST's programs, the FIRST Lego League (FLL)