Science + Technology + Math + Engineering + Robots + Gracious Professionalism

Founded by Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) inspires high school, middle school, and elementary students to get involved with science and technology. One of the biggest platforms of FIRST encourages gracious professionalism, the "respect towards one's competitors and integrity in one's actions." Currently, the program includes over 480,000 students, 20,675 robots, 66,000 mentors, and 33,000 event volunteers.

FIRST was founded to encourage students to get involved in science and technology. In the words of Dean Kamen, FIRST's mission is, "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."

FIRST encourages two major concepts in their program: gracious professionalism and coopertition. Gracious professionalism is competing with other teams, but being respectful and kind to others in the process. FIRST encourages teams to help one another. Many FIRST teams assist other teams: some older teams mentor rookie teams to the programs, some teams offer help to newer teams. At competitions, teams assist one another with anything that is needed. Teams often share parts and even have team members volunteer to help one another. Another important cornerstone in the FIRST program is coopertition. Coopertition is working together with other teams, despite competition. FIRST encourages helping other teams, even if the other teams are the competition. Through the implementation of these principles, FIRST has created a program that not only allows high school students to get involved in math, science, engineering, and technology, but also allows teams to work together with other teams to approach a problem. This not only teaches students about technology, but also teaches students to work together with other people and develop friendships. This differentiates FIRST from many other extracurricular programs.

For more information about FIRST, visit FIRST!