FIRST 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.

The FIRST message is very clear: To change the culture in which Scientist, Engineers, and Technologist are celebrated as Heroes and to inspire young people to take on the challenges of becoming the next generation of Scientist, Engineers, Technologist, and Mathematicians- especially those who come from disadvantage backgrounds who have been traditionally underrepresented in the Science, and Engineering fields such as African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Women. For more information about FIRST Robotics please visit www.usfirst.org.

Dean Kamen - FIRST Founder

Dean Kamen

Dean Kamen is an inventor, an entrepreneur, and a tireless advocate for science and technology. In 1989, Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a program for students to get people interested in science, technology, and engineering. One competition started and run by FIRST is the FRC or FIRST Robotics Competition. In 2011, it held 55 regional competitions around the globe, and one international competition in St. Louis, MO.FIRST has gained a great deal of publicity from companies such as Autodesk, BAE Systems, Bausch and Lomb, Boeing, CNN, General Electric, General Motors, Google, Microsoft, National Instruments, Coca-Cola, Boston Gears, Motorola, Delphi, Kodak, Johnson and Johnson, Rockwell Automation, Xerox, Harris, Underwriter's Laboratories, Microchip, Caterpillar and PTC as well as many Universities and colleges.

Woodie Flowers - FIRST National Advisor

Woodie Flowers

Woodie C. Flowers is an emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His specialty areas are engineering design and product development, he holds the Pappalardo Professorship and is a Mac Vicar Faculty Fellow. In 1974, he took over MIT's “Introduction to Design”, in which he gave sophomores a set of random parts such as small motors, wire and tongue depressors. Students were told to build a device that would perform some specific function. Professor Flowers turned the competition into something like a sporting event, with dynamic challenges for the robots. The competition was held in large MIT classrooms and later, gymnasiums.

Dave Lavery - Program Executive for Solar System Exploration

Dave Lavery

Mr. Lavery is responsible for executive oversight of the design and development of the next generation of Mars exploration spacecraft, and the advanced technologies to enable them. He is currently responsible for the two Mars Exploration Rover missions, and the NASA participation in the joint European-U.S. Mars Express mission, all of which arrived at Mars this past year. In addition, he leads the Mars Advanced Technology Program which is creating new approaches to remote exploration by robotic systems.

Lavery also founded and directs the NASA Robotics Education Project, which includes the agency’s participation in the FIRST robotics competition program.

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