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What is FIRST?

For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology

FIRST is a global robotics community preparing young people for the future. The organization plans and runs robotics competitions for youths of all ages. All FIRST teams are tasked each year with building a robot, but they also work to spread the influence of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in their communities in a variety of ways. The organization runs four programs:

  • FIRST Lego League Jr. (FLL Jr.): Grades K-4

  • FIRST Lego League (FLL): Grades 4-8

  • FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC): Grades 7-12

  • FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)Grades 9-12

For more information about FIRST and its individual programs, you can check out their official website at

FIRST Vision

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


FIRST Mission

Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, 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.

Dean Kamen is an 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.


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.


FIRST Values

Gracious Professionalism

Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST National Advisor and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term "Gracious Professionalism."


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, cooperation 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 works closely with research and academic organizations to provide tangible evidence of our impact on student’s education and career choices.

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