FIRST Robotics

year 2, week 11: this week i'm gonna... inspire kids to be STEM leaders

Dean Kamen with FIRST participants (photo credit: Ben Baker)

Dean Kamen with FIRST participants (photo credit: Ben Baker)

Dean Kamen has invented hundreds of things, including the Segway and the first insulin pump for treatment of diabetes. He has emerged not only as a great inventor, but also a great leader. "Leadership is about giving other people enough resources, support, and self-confidence to accomplish goals that they would not otherwise attain and perhaps even be unwilling to attempt," Kamen says. 

One of Kamen's proudest accomplishments is founding FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The organization is dedicated to motivating students to understand, use, and enjoy science and technology. "FIRST is all about changing our culture for the better," Kamen states. "More than 25 years ago, I saw a culture where celebrities and athletes were celebrated and revered, and scientists and engineers were not. I believed then, and still believe now, that our collective future depends on getting more kids from every background interested and turned onto science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), so that they might seek education and careers in these fields."

FIRST programs are designed to engage kids in exciting, mentor-based, research and robotics programs that help them become science and technology leaders and well-rounded contributors to society. Kids explore real-world scientific challenges, while also building and programming robots to play floor games against other teams’ creations. 

“FIRST is more than robots," says Kamen. "The robots are a vehicle for students to learn important life skills." 
 

 
Photo credit: FIRST
 

 
 

FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST 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's mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs. These programs strive to build science, engineering, and technology skills; inspire innovation; and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.


FIRST kids are already making an impact on society. When he was 13 years old, TJ Evarts dreamed up a product that could alleviate one the nation’s leading traffic problems: teens who text and drive. In 2009, TJ and his FIRST team, "The Inventioneers," were inspired to create the SMARTwheel, a device which snaps onto a steering wheel and uses sensing technology to encourage safe hand position. The system provides real-time feedback with visual and audio alerts and comes with a mobile app so parents can monitor their teens’ driving behaviors. After meeting TJ and his team, Former President Obama stated he needed a SMARTwheel for his daughters!

 
Former President Obama tests the SMARTWheel as TJ Evarts and his team explain the invention (photo credit: Chuck Kennedy/White House)

Former President Obama tests the SMARTWheel as TJ Evarts and his team explain the invention (photo credit: Chuck Kennedy/White House)

 

“Kids [like TJ] often come in not knowing what to expect – of the program nor of themselves," states FIRST Founder Dean Kamen. "They leave, even after the first season, with a vision, with confidence, and with a sense that they can create their own future.”


Notes for this week:

  • For all the STEM fanatics out there, March 14th is pi day (3.14)!
  • Our collective givetwig donation will go towards the cost of a robotics competition for the Louisiana/Mississippi branch of FIRST.
  • For more information regarding FIRST Robotics, please check out their website.
 

this week i'm gonna donate to FIRST Robotics.

please share the givetwig awesomeness!