FIRST IN MICHIGAN • FIRST INSPIRES
The mission of FIRST® is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, 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
Engage kids in kindergarten through high school in exciting, mentor-based, research and robotics programs that help them become science and technology leaders, as well as well-rounded contributors to society.
Dean Kamen, Founder
Dean Kamen is a prolific inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. His passion and determination to help young people discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology are the cornerstones of FIRST. For over 30 years, Kamen has resolutely led the growth of FIRST to where it is now universally recognized as the leading, not-for-profit STEM engagement program for kids worldwide.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
FIRST is More Than Robots. FIRST participation is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21 st century work-life skills. Read more about the Impact of FIRST.
The late Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST Distinguished Advisor and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term "Gracious Professionalism®." (Woody's photo from MITadmissions.org)
Dr. Woody Flowers
Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It's 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. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.
In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.
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.
FIRST Core Values
We express the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through our Core Values:
Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!
FIRST in MICHIGAN
FIRST Robotics Competition for High School Students
More than robots.
Geared for high school students, the FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of a varsity sport with the real world experience of building a robot. The robot is more than a science project. Teams produce a commercial product that is designed, machined, programmed, and marketed to win. Along the way, students sample a variety of STEM fields to see where their true passion lies. Working side by side with industry mentors, FIRST gives students on-the-job experience and the chance to build skills not possible in a traditional classroom setting.
The mission of FIRST in Michigan is to establish a sustainable FIRST Robotics Competition team at every high school in the state. In 2009, FIRST in Michigan created a new model targeted for growth and team retention. Dividing the state into 16 distinct geographic regions, this model lets teams play close to home giving the community as well as area government, businesses, and media easy access to local events.
Each Michigan high school team participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition attends two qualifiers, called district events. Utilizing a points system, teams earn points based on robot performance and judged awards. Teams are ranked, and a predetermined number of teams advance to a State Championship. This model has resulted in growth in every part of our state.