FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen in 1989. FIRST aims to inspire the next generation of science and technology leaders through student participation in a family of mentor-based robotics competitions:
- FIRST LEGO League (FLL)
- FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)
- FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).
Raider Robotix participates in the FIRST Robotics Competition as Team 25.
FIRST provides students with an exciting and creative outlet to explore and discover their passions. To be successful both on and off the field, FIRST robotics teams must not only build and program a robot, but also develop and brand a team identity, create business plans for sustainability, raise funds and seek sponsorship, give back to their communities, and more. As such, any student can contribute to and find their niche on a FIRST team.
Frequently described as “the varsity sport for the mind,” FRC is special in that students get to use industry technologies and work side-by-side with mentors who are experienced in their field. These experiences in high school are invaluable in preparing students for future careers in STEM fields. To further encourage education in these areas, FIRST partners with colleges and universities to provide $15 million in scholarships to FIRST participants.
A 2005 study conducted by Brandeis University proves that FIRST works:
FIRST has literally changed my life….I never had a strong interest in math or science until my eleventh grade year when I joined a FIRST team. FIRST made me see that science and math are something that I not only am interested in, but truly enjoy doing every day. FIRST opened a door to a whole new world, a world I wanted to stay in. I would have to say that FIRST is the reason why I will be an engineer someday….