Heard of FIRST Robotics?

“To create a world where science and technology are celebrated… where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes”

This is the motto of FIRST, whose members include, at last count: 212,000 students, 17,634 robots, 57,376 mentors, 19,134 teams and 34,000 event volunteers.

What is FIRST?
From Wikipedia:
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers in 1989 in order to develop ways to inspire students in engineering and technology fields.

FIRST seeks to promote a philosophy of teamwork and collaboration among engineers and encourages competing teams to remain friendly, helping each other out when necessary. The terms frequently applied to this ethos are “gracious professionalism,” and “Coopertition,” the terms coined by Woodie Flowers which support respect towards one’s competitors and integrity in one’s actions.

Breaking news – The finals for this year’s FIRST Robotics Championship are being held this weekend, April 15 – April 17, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Watch the 2010 FIRST Championships live at:

http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/robotics/

I have seen firsthand the amazing enthusiasm generated in my own children by participating in FIRST – designing, building, and testing a robot in 6 weeks with the help of patient, experienced mentors, and then competing against other teams from around the nation and the world.

I recently found myself wondering how FIRST had fared amongst homeschooled students. A Google search turned up evidence that the inspiration of FIRST and its philosophy can blend with the intense intellectual dedication and flexible time capabilities of technologically-motivated homeschooled students to make a magnificent and successful combination, as seen in this FIRST Championship-winning team of homeschoolers:

http://nche.hslda.org/docs/BrightSpots/200805300.asp

What does FIRST Robotics have to do with college? Scholarship money!

The website for FIRST explains:
Many colleges and universities, professional associations, and corporations offer college scholarships to high school students on FIRST teams. This is official recognition of the knowledge and technical and life skills these students have gained from participating in a FIRST competition. FIRST scholarships enable students to pursue majors and careers in engineering, computer science, science, math, design, aeronautics, and many other fields. In 2010, the FIRST Scholarship Program boasts: $12.2 million in college scholarships, over 746 individual scholarship opportunities, and over 136 Scholarship Providers.

For more details on FIRST scholarship opportunities for college, go to:

https://my.usfirst.org/scholarships/index.lasso?page=scholarshipsearch_printed

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