FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit, international organization founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen. Their 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”. FIRST combines the ideas of gracious professionalism and engineering in a fun environment through competitions such as the FIRST Robotics Competition, the FIRST Tech Challenge, and the FIRST Lego League.
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), deemed “The Varsity Sport for the Mind,” is a robotics competition designed for high-schoolers around the world to compete in challenges. Every January, FIRST releases a unique game for the robots to engage in, and teams work for six weeks to design and build their own customized robot. The teams then enter their respective robots in qualification matches in hopes of earning a spot to the Championships in St. Louis.