FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by
inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.
Based in Manchester, N.H., the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity inspires young people to be
science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build
science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-
rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
FIRST provides a progression of four international, after-school programs for K-12: the FIRST®
Robotics Competition (FRC®) for Grades 9-12; the FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) for Grades 7-12;
the FIRST® LEGO League (FLL®) for Grades 4-8; and the Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®)
for Grades K-3. FIRST also operates a research, development, and training facility called FIRST®
Place™ at its headquarters in New Hampshire.
FIRST is supported by a strong network of corporations, educational and professional institutions, and
individuals. Some of the world’s most respected companies – including more than 200 of the Fortune
500 companies – provide funding, mentorship time and talent, volunteerism, equipment, and more to
make FIRST a reality.
2014 Championship Sponsors are:
Presenting Sponsor: Qualcomm Incorporated;
Program Sponsors: Monsanto Company, Abbott Fund, Boeing Company, Coca-Cola Company,
FedEx, NASA, NRG Energy, Inc., United Technologies Corporation, and United States Air Force;
Championship Sponsors: America Makes, Autodesk, Bechtel Corporation, Best Buy Co., Inc.,
Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Central Intelligence Agency, Comcast NBCUniversal, Cullinary Institute
of America, GoDaddy, International Association of Emergency Managers, International Council on
Systems Engineering (INCOSE), Leidos, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Mouser Electronics, Inc.,
Novelis, Inc., Nvidia Corporation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Patriarch Partners, LLC (I Jane;
Ken Paves), Siemens, Southwest Airlines, SpaceX, Underwriters Laboratories, and Vulcan Spring.
Founding Sponsors are:
Baxter International Inc., Boston Scientific Corporation, The Chrysler Foundation, DEKA Research &
Development, Delphi, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,
Motorola Solutions Foundation, Xerox Corporation
Strategic Partners are:
3M, BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, DEKA Research & Development, FedEx Corporation,
General Motors, Google, JCPenney, Johnson & Johnson, NASA, National Instruments, PTC,
Rockwell Automation, Rockwell Collins, Time Warner Cable, United Technologies Corporation
Rockwell Collins is the Official Program Sponsor and PTC is the CAD & Collaboration Sponsor for the
FIRST Tech Challenge.
The LEGO Group is a Founding Partner of FIRST LEGO League. 3M and LEGO Systems A/S are
Official Suppliers, and National Instruments, Rockwell Automation, and Statoil are Global Sponsors of
FIRST LEGO League.
FIRST provides an education, skill, and career path for young people who might not otherwise have
discovered an interest in and pursued education and careers in science and technology. FIRST works
closely with schools at every level to transform both the perception and reality of education in science
and technology. Some of the finest colleges and universities support FIRST by providing scholarship
opportunities, sponsoring teams, and providing mentorship, equipment, and facilities. As a result of
the support of these colleges and universities, 2013/2014 season FIRST high-school students are
eligible to apply for more than $19 million in scholarship funds to continue education in science,
technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
FIRST is truly a Volunteer-driven organization. For the 2013/2014 FIRST season, more than 130,000
Volunteers are expected to contribute in areas including mentorship, event management, recruitment,
and team management. The growth and success of FIRST is a direct result of the efforts of the
Mentors, parents, teachers, community leaders, and citizens who volunteer their time and talent.
The best ways to start discovering the rewards of FIRST are:
Attend a FIRST event (visit www.usfirst.org and click on the “Locate a FIRST Team or Event”
link in the upper right corner to find an event close to you – attendance is free!);
Contact a Mentor from a local team to assist;
Visit the FIRST website at http://www.usfirst.org/community/volunteers/get-involved for local
Volunteer/event opportunities; or
Contact FIRST at 1-800-871-8326.
Interested Volunteers can visit our website at www.usfirst.org for more information about how to
become a Mentor, Coach, or event Volunteer.
Gracious Professionalism® is part of the ethos of FIRST. The idea and phrase are found throughout
FIRST, but no one has been a stronger champion than FIRST National Advisor, Woodie Flowers.
“Gracious Professionalism is 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.”
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.
The FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) for Grades 9-12 (ages 14 to 18) is an annual competition
that helps young people discover the rewards and excitement of education and careers in science,
engineering, and technology. FRC challenges high-school-aged students – working with professional
Mentors – to design and build a robot, and compete in high-intensity events that reward the
effectiveness of each robot, the power of team strategy and collaboration, and the determination of
students. In 1992, the initial FIRST Robotics Competition took place with 28 teams in a high school
gym in New Hampshire. In 2014, the largest-ever FRC season is expected to include more than 2,700
teams from 17 countries competing in 54 Regional events, 4 Qualifying Championships, 40 District
Competitions, and the FIRST Championship at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, April 24-26,
FIRST creates powerful mentoring relationships between the students and professional Mentors. FRC
teams include engineers and other professionals from some of the world’s most respected
companies. Students work closely with and learn from these “stars” of the engineering world.
Meaningful involvement of adults in children’s lives is proven as an essential component for
developing young people’s potential.
Each year’s Kickoff event unveils a new, exciting, and challenging game. From the Kickoff, teams
have just six weeks to build a robot to compete in the game using a kit of parts provided by FIRST
and a standard set of rules. The 2014 game, AERIAL ASSISTSM, is played by two Alliances of three
teams each. Alliances compete by trying to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two-
minute and 30-second match. Additional points are earned by robots working together to score goals,
and by throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor as they
move the ball down the field.
During the 2014 season, approximately 68,000 high-school students on more than 2,700 FRC teams
are expected to compete in 54 Regionals (in the U.S., Canada, Israel, and Mexico), 4 Qualifying
Championships, 40 District Competitions, and the FIRST Championship. FRC teams are comprised of
professional Mentors and 10 or more student members in grades 9-12. In addition, each FIRST team
has one or more Sponsors. Those Sponsors include companies, universities, or professional
organizations that donate their time, talent, funds, equipment, and much more to the team effort.
FIRST invites students who may not be predisposed to science, math, or technology to participate. In
fact, FRC is designed to inspire, motivate, and encourage students to learn basic principles while
challenging more experienced students. Since there are critical roles for students in everything from
design and building, to fundraising and research, to marketing, every student can actively participate
Throughout their FIRST experience, students gain maturity, build self-confidence, learn teamwork,
and gain an understanding of professionalism. Students have fun while building a network of friends
and professional Mentors who enrich their lives.
Any FRC participant is eligible to apply for more than $19 million in scholarships from leading
engineering colleges and universities.
A series of awards honor accomplishments in areas including engineering, design excellence,
competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses, and
communities. A judging committee of distinguished professionals makes award decisions. The most
prestigious award is the Chairman’s Award, which recognizes the team that best represents a model
for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.
Young people gain the skills and knowledge to fill one of the more than two million STEM-related
positions available in the U.S. today. Sponsors benefit by finding future employees and interns.
Mentors benefit from renewed inspiration and a reminder as to why they chose science, technology,
engineering, and math (STEM) as a career. Volunteers are recognized as an integral and vital part of
the way in which young people connect to the real world, in their own communities and in the world at
A 2005 Brandeis University evaluation of FIRST participants primarily from urban and low-income
schools found that, compared to a group of students with similar backgrounds in high school math and
science, FRC participants were:
Nearly twice as likely to major in science or engineering (55 percent vs. 28 percent).
More than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering (41 percent vs. 13 percent),
and they majored in engineering at roughly seven times the average among US college students
More than twice as likely to expect to have a science or technology-related career after college (45
percent vs. 20 percent).