About FIRST® and its Programs

FIRST Logo Parts of this article come from FIRST's Vision & Mission and At A Glance pages.


The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.


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, Founder


FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) creates and hosts challenging robotics competitions by encouraging teams from around the world to face the challenge of develping a solution to a problem, whether it be robotic, STEM-focused, or for other people. This worldwide phenomenon was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen. Since then, FIRST has expanded to a global community, with four distinct competitions for students coming from four different age groups. FIRST now has over 400,000 participating students in over 80 countries, not to mention the over 200,000 volunteers and supportive mentors who will help them to become the science and technology leaders of tomorrow.

FIRST has sparked interest not only in the minds of the participants, but also in major corporations such as Coca-Cola, NASA and over 200 of the Fortune® 500 companies. In addition, politicians such as former Presidents of the United States of America (Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) and current President Barack Obama, have been attached to the cause and are huge supporters of the kids involved.

FIRST is not just an organization. It is a movement, mission, and culture that encourages participants to spread the word and excitement of the rapidly growing world of science and technology that surrounds us today.

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