FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen, the man popularly known for inventing the Segway®. After seeing how youth were more interested in the entertainment industry than in vital careers in math and science, Dean decided to create an organization that would cater to youth and allow them to explore and become inspired by engineering. It would be competition based, using the successful sports model. But, instead of focusing on exercising the muscles, it would exercise the mind.
In 1992, teams of high school students gathered in a New Hampshire school’s gym to rise to the challenge of the inaugural FIRST Robotics Competition. There were 28 teams present. Fast forward more than twenty years later to 2017. There is now over 3,500 teams spanning 26 countries across the globe. With such an expansive network of support and education, it’s no wonder that STEM interest is growing as much as it is today.
Want to know more about the history of FIRST? Please visit USFIRST.org.