Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering.
Since its beginning, FIRST has had a positive impact on students and academic communities. Participating high-school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply for more than $15 million in scholarships from leading universities, colleges, and companies. Research has shown that FIRST has significantly improved students’ attitudes about math and science and has fostered a culture of teamwork, leadership, and self-confidence. In fact, FIRST participants are 50% more likely to attend college, twice as likely to go on to major in science or engineering, three times as likely to major specifically in engineering, and four times more likely to expect to pursue a career in engineering than a comparison group of students with similar backgrounds in high school math and science.
FIRST Founding Sponsors include Boston Scientific Corporation, Baxter International Incorporated, The Chrysler Foundation, DEKA Research & Development Corp., Delphi Corporation, General Motors Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Motorola Incorporated, and Xerox Corporation. FIRST Strategic Partners include BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, FedEx Corporation, General Motors Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, NASA, National Instruments, Rockwell Automation, and Rockwell Collins.
With the support of many of the world's most well-known companies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, the FIRST LEGO® League for children 9-14 years old, and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. You can learn more about the impact FIRST is having globally by visiting the national website, click here.