Mechanical Mayhem: About FIRST
What is FIRST®?
“FIRST is a network of Gracious Professionals, passionately developing compassionate leaders from the youth of the world that will solve our global challenges by applying technology and scientific solutions to the hard problems humanity has yet to solve.” – Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRSTCo-Founder
“[FIRST is a] …multidisciplinary problem where you will learn about technology, teamwork, marketing, fundraising, and finance. You will gain the ability to appreciate another’s unique skills and, if you put your heart into it, it will change your self-image…” Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST Co-Founder
FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an innovative program co-founded by inventor Dean Kamen and MIT Professor Dr. Woodie Flowers. Their vision: to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in high schools across the globe. To accomplish worldwide recognition and attention for STEM careers, they developed a phenomenal robotics program called FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). In FRC, a game is announced on the first Saturday in January. In the next six weeks high schoolers work alongside engineering mentors and STEM professionals to invent and build competitive robots.
During that short time they not only gain a great amount of experience about the fabrication of robots, students also learn how businesses work by developing a business plan for their teams, finding sponsors, and reaching out to the community. Students also see real engineers in action, working alongside them to overcome obstacles such as launching Frisbees over 50 feet or hurling 3-foot track balls. This challenging and fun environment often inspires students to become engineers themselves. By teaching students while they are young, the program ensures that in the future there will be an abundance of brilliant engineers and scientists leading the way in the technology business.
But the benefits don’t stop with the students! The FIRST program also benefits businesses that get involved as well. Many FRC participants go on to work for these companies after they graduate from the program. The many engineers and other volunteers involved in FRC get as much out of the program as the students. Businesses, corporations and agencies (like NASA and BAE Systems) do their best to get their engineers and other employees involved in FIRST for this very reason.
What is the goal of FIRST?
Dean Kamen, FIRST co-founder, says it best: “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.” With the goal of an FRC team in every high school in the United States, Dean Kamen has enlisted the help of all FRC participants with these words: “Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”
If you would like to learn more about FIRST, click HERE