"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
-Dean Kamen, Founder
FIRST was founded by Dean Kamen in 1989. The first robotics competition took place in 1992 with 28 teams in a New Hampshire high-school gym. FIRST provides students of all ages around the country, and even around the world, to apply science, math, and engineering to build robots for competition. Even more notably, through the FIRST experience students gain the knowledge and skills that ultimately motivate them to go into higher education and pursue careers they never thought possible. FIRST presents four areas of competition that are available from students as young as six to those in their senior year in high school.
SEE Dean Kamen’s FIRST vision here.
Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST National Advisor and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term "Gracious Professionalism."
Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It's a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.
In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.
When compared with the comparison group, FIRST students are: