WHAT IS FIRST?
FIRST is a non-profit organization that was founded to inspire and excite young people about science and technology by bringing together professional mentors and high school students from around the country. FIRST is an acronym which means “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.”
FIRST was founded in 1989 by inventor and visionary Dean Kamen. In the first year, 28 teams participated in one competition that was held in a high school gymnasium in New Hampshire. In 2010, over 1800 teams with 2,300 corporate sponsors competed in over 50 regional and district events culminating with the international Championship event in the U.S. FIRST also sponsors Junior FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions along with a series of education-related projects and programs
Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST, imagines a day when the act of invention—the work of scientists, engineers and technologists—is as revered in the popular culture as music, athletics and entertainment are today. The FIRST vision is to inspire in young people, their schools and communities, an appreciation of science and technology and an understanding that mastering these can enrich the lives of all.
HOW IT WORKS
Through a large, successful and growing community of educators, parents, community leaders, engineers, volunteers and sponsors, FIRST builds alliances that inspire and prepare the talent pool, workforce, leaders and capable, technologically literate citizens of tomorrow. FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs that build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering.
Many colleges and universities, professional associations, and corporations offer college scholarships to high school students on FIRST teams. This is official recognition of the knowledge and technical and life skills these students have gained from participating in a FIRST competition. For 2013, the universities of University of Toronto, York University, and University of Waterloo are offering scholarships to FIRST team members.