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What Is FIRST?


Founded in 1989 by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is the leading nonprofit STEM-engagement program for youth worldwide. FIRST not only aims to inspire young people’s interest in STEM-related careers, but also imbues them with skills essential in the workplace through the values of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. With its four different youth programs spanning Kindergarten to Grade 12, FIRST is has a far reach, inspiring young people of all ages and nationalities.


While robots are very interesting and part of all of its programs, FIRST also encourages a philosophy known as Gracious Professionalism: the promotion of hard work, respect, and value of others. Coopertition, on the other hand, encourages not only respect and kindness towards opponents, but also cooperation and assistance. Through these values, students who participate in FIRST learn skills and values essential to most any workplace.


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What Does FIRST Mean To Us?

"FIRST is an outlet for me to exercise my creativity through cooperative engineering challenges."   

- Dan Noble

"FIRST to me means 'opportunity'. I've always wanted to have some type of STEM oriented career, but I had no idea how I wanted to approach and achieve that goal. Because of FIRST, I am now more involved in engineering and STEM processes for change and for my advancement to learn."   

-Evan Rossman

"To me, FIRST is a family. We're constantly striving for a better future through innovation and learning, all while lifting each other up to achieve new heights."

- Sam Faris

"FIRST is the opportunity to learn new things, but it's also the opportunity to grow as a person. It's a family. It opens up new avenues to learn skills, and it creates deep friendships and strong bonds."

- Greg Sather

"FIRST is the opportunity for people to acheive goals and learn incredibly important skills that they wouldn't otherwise be able to learn."

- Matt Oberg

Programs Within FIRST

First Robotics Competition

Designed for high-school students in 9th-12th grade.

Challenges students to design, build, and program game-playing robots weighing up to 120 pounds in a six-week period. This is the program our team participates in.

First Tech Challenge

Designed for students in 7th-12th grade.


Challenges students to design, build, and program robots in a 10 week period to compete in a floor-based game. This competition creates a low-cost and accessible opportunity for students to explore the fields of STEM.

First Lego League

Designed for students in 4th-8th grade.

Challenges students to build a fully autonomous LEGO Mindstorms robot and to conduct a research project regarding a specific real-world issue. To learn more about our work with First Lego League teams visit our FIRST expansion page.

First Lego League Jr.

Designed for students ages 6 to 10.

Challenges students to construct models and conduct small projects related to a specific theme. This is an introductory program to STEM that appeals to kids through LEGO-building.

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