Dean Kamen, Founder of FIRST®
FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a multinational, non-profit organization that aspires to transform culture; making science, math, engineering, and technology as cool for kids as sports are today. It is dedicated to changing the way young people worldwide regard science and technology and inspiring an appreciation for the real-life rewards and career opportunities in these fields.
FIRST® designs accessible, innovative programs that build not only science and technology skills and interests, but also self-confidence, leadership, career, and life skills.
To positively transform culture by inspiring young people, their schools, and communities to appreciate science and technology.
Founded in 1989, FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with headquarters located in Manchester, New Hampshire. It prides itself on leadership in the scientific arena and commitment to building a strong foundation for the country's future workforce. Founder Dean Kamen, the recipient of the 2000 National Medal of Technology and inventor of the Segway Human Transporter, saw the need to "create a world where science and technology are celebrated" and revered as much in popular culture as music, athletics and entertainment are today.
One of FIRST®'s main activities is promoting scientific innovation through the annual FRC Robotics Competition, designed to immerse high school students in real-life engineering, as well as the spirit of "Gracious Professionalism®" to others. At the first competition held in 1992, twenty-eight teams played one robotic event in a New Hampshire high school gymnasium. Rapid growth occurred with more high school teams signing up to compete, and in 1998 FIRST® began a FIRST® Lego League for 9 to 14 year olds. Today, approximately 3,000 teams exist; 56 regional competitions, 48 district events, and 5 district championships are held yearly in different countries. The final Championship event is held at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to the competitions, FIRST® opened FIRST® Place in Manchester, New Hampshire, an innovative science and technology center that includes a hands-on children's science museum. FIRST® has experienced exponential growth since its creation, and amazing success, as indicated by the number of colleges offering scholarships to team members and the media coverage of the organization and its achievements.
Each year, FIRST® develops the competition by supplying an objective to teams of students, who have six weeks to conceptualize, design, build, and test their robotic solution. Each year the objective is different; details are kept secret until early January, when it is simultaneously revealed to all teams during the Kick-Off workshop held in New Hampshire. Once the six weeks have passed, robots are transported to the competition site where teams will compete in March.
- Stephen Chadwick
For more information about FIRST®, please feel free to visit their website at http://www.firstinspires.org.