What is FIRST?

"For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology" or FIRST is a nonprofit organization set forth to inspire young generations in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Founded by Dean Kamen (inventor of the segway), FIRST is determined to accomplish their mission:

“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

Since founded in 1989, the FIRST message has spread worldwide. The overall involvement of students, mentors, and volunteers in FIRST has evolved into the largest robotics competitions in the world. These competitions combine the fundamentals of team work, brain power and use of technology to create "The Varsity Sport for the Mind." With the use of power tools, computer programming, CADD modeling and critical thinking, every step in the process is hands on and developed completely by students. Accompanied by knowledgable mentors and fellow volunteers already in the field, students are introduced to a real life engineering environment where hard work pays off.

FIRST incorporates teamwork into all events and is essential to having a successful team in the long run. In addition to teamwork, FIRST promotes the ideas of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. Both of these values involve the upmost respect for other teams as well as helping other teams during competition.

As described by FIRST themselves:

Gracious Professionalism

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.


Coopertition 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.

Get involved in the FIRST programs!

FIRST Robotics Competition: Grades 9-12, Ages 14-18, Combines science and technology to engineer full scale robots to compete at the FRC competition.

FIRST Lego League: Grades 4-8, Ages 9-14, Combines strategy and engineering design to create lego models for competition.

FIRST Tech Challenge: Grades 9-12, Ages 14-18, Combines science and technology to engineer smaller scale robots from a kit for competition.

Junior FIRST Lego League: Grades K-3, Ages 6-9, Combines imagination and design to create lego based "Show-Me" posters.