Founded in 1989, the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is a 501 (c)(3) public charity based in Manchester, New Hampshire. Created by inventor Dean Kamen, FIRST is organized to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs that build not only science and technology skills and interests, but also self-confidence, leadership, and life skills.
Four core programs provide inspiration to an ascending age range of today’s youth. Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) reaches students ages 6 to 9 through a network of web-based Jr.FLL Expos. FIRST LEGO League (FLL) engages youth ages 9 to 14 in 50+ countries with a design and build format utilizing LEGO Mindstorm technologies. FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a highly accessible design and build competition for ages 14 to 18. FIRST’s oldest and most intensive program, the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), features teams of approximately 25 high school students, working with volunteer mentors to design and build a robot in six weeks from a "kit" of common key parts. During 2012, FIRST will successfully stage 52 FRC Regional events involving over 58,00+ high-school students (Grades 9-12). In April, the FIRST Championship brings together over 500 FRC, FTC, and FLL teams (and their robots) to celebrate and compete simultaneously on six fields in St. Louis, MO. All of the programs, as well as schools and science museums, are supported by technology education and teacher programs developed by FIRST Place.