For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is a non-profit organization that promotes science and technology by running robotics programs. FIRST has programs for each stage of school development, encouraging students to work side by side with real-life engineers and scientists; they not only teach you how to build robots, but also prepares you for life after high school and beyond.
Many people have preconceived notions often influenced by the media, thinking that robotics are solely a “robot wars” competition; however, FIRST robots are built to accomplish tasks in a game that simulates real-life situations. The term “gracious professionalism” shapes much of what the competitions are like and it is the philosophical core of FIRST.
“With Gracious Professionalism fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionalism learns 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.”
-Woodie Flowers, Distinguished Advisor to FIRST
This organization has grown massively since Dean Kamen and Dr. Woodie Flowers piloted the program with university students at MIT. In the 1992 debut season, there were 28 teams in a New Hampshire high-school gym but now, FIRST reaches out to over 150 000 students from across the world with the FIRST Championship held in the Detroit, Michigan and Houston, Texas.
Visit usfirst.org for more information.