“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.”
Dean Kamen, Founder
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.
Dean Kamen is an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. His passion and determination to help young people discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology are the cornerstones of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST National Advisor and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term “Gracious ProfessionalismTM.”
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.
CoopertitionTM produces innovation. At FIRST, Coopertition is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete.
Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.
FIRST Robotics Competition
Recently, Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities conducted an independent, retrospective survey of FIRST Robotics Competition participants and compared results to a group of non-FIRST students with similar backgrounds and academic experiences, including math and science. Highlights of the study’s findings include:
When compared with the comparison group, FIRST students are:
More than 3 times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
Roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year. Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree. More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology. Nearly 4 times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering. More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.
To learn more about FIRST, visit http://www.usfirst.org/aboutus/vision