FIRST

Rating: 4.83 stars   77 reviews

Address:

200 Bedford Street Manchester NH 03101 USA

Mission:

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by Inventor Dean Kamen to inspire and excite secondary high school students about mathematics, science and engineering. Many companies and organizations have established bridges with local schools to help ensure the future presence of a qualified work force, few programs have been developed on the national level. One program that has, and has been very successful in its mission, is the national robotics competition of FIRST. The FIRST conducts regional and national design competitions which demonstrate that engineering, math and science can be interesting, captivating and entertaining as a sporting event.

Target demographics:

participants master skills and concepts to aid in learning science and technology through innovative projects and robotics competitions, while gaining valuable employment and life skills.

Geographic areas served:

US and 80+ countries

Programs:

The first robotics competition (frc) directly served approximately 72,500 high school students on 2,900 teams. Working with mentors, each team built a robot in six weeks from a kit of common parts, designing it to meet this year's game challenge, "recycle rush. " each team participated in one or more 2 to 3-day events at 109 locations, competing for awards for game scores, safety practices, teamwork and other qualitative achievements, stressing the values of cooperation and inclusion. Award winning teams participated in the annual championship event in st louis, mo. The frc program provided students with the experience of applying science and technology to achieve a specific challenge under a time constraint. (narrative continued on schedule o, pg. 149). This experience developed students' technical skills, teamwork and the ability to deal with the satisfactions and disappointments of a real engineering project. Participation in frc has inspired many students to go on to college, pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Many frc coaches and mentors work in these fields and help the students develop bonds within their communities and connections to the workforce development pipeline. Students in the frc program are eligible for college scholarships through the first scholarship program.

the first lego league (fll) reached approximately 208,000 students aged 9-16, on 26,044 teams in more than 80 countries. This year's challenge was called "fll world class. " teams worked on game challenges using lego mindstorms technology, applying science and engineering to master complex missions to redesign how we gather knowledge and skills in the 21st century. In april 2015, teams from around the world met in st louis, mo for the fll world festival competition and celebration. The junior first lego league (jrfll) program served approximately 33,000 students aged 6 to 9, on 5,653 teams through a web-based game challenge called "jrfll think tank. " (narrative continued on schedule o, pgs. 149-150). Participation in fll and jrfll has engaged students in a comprehensive experience developing confidence in their ability to address serious issues, enhancing their education in science and math, and exposing them to a stem career. By progressing through each program and ultimately to frc, students gain a full suite of technical skills and ongoing encouragement, making it more likely that they will pursue careers in science and technology.

the first tech challenge (ftc) served approximately 44,000 youths from ages 12 to 18 on 4,445 teams. Like the frc program, ftc is a design and build experience but using a smaller kit and simpler game challenge. In this year's game, "cascade effect," each team built a robot and participated in a regional tournament. Ftc provides an experience similar to the frc program, but is more readily accessible to a broader audience of educators and students, in part because of its lower cost. The ftc experience simulates the excitement as well as the pressure of a real-life engineering project, developing not only the students' technical know-how, but also leadership, cooperation, ability to plan, patience, and teamwork. (narrative continued on schedule o, pg. 150). Like the frc program, ftc enriches the participating students' ability to deal with the satisfactions and disappointments of a real engineering project. The ftc experience expands students' interest in science, technology, engineering and math, and inspires many to go on to a higher education. Like the frc participants, students in the ftc program are eligible for some of the college scholarships through the first scholarship program. By progressing through each program and ultimately frc, students gain a full suite of technical skills and ongoing encouragement, making it more likely that they will pursue careers in science and technology.

the $118,030 of expenses and $3,345 of program service revenue reported are first place (fp) costs and revenue. Fp provided on-site research, testing, and evaluation of existing programs and hosted some training events and conferences related to program development and expansion. Fp provided local educators and students with hands-on learning opportunities during summer vacation and spring break. The first scholarship program attracted 180 colleges, universities, businesses, and professional associations. These organizations offered $22 million in college scholarships to first program participants. First provided guidance to high school students encouraging them to apply. Awards ranged from $500 to full tuition. The costs of the first scholarship program are included on form 990, part iii. The first volunteer program provided support to teams, coaches and our regional staff around the country by recruiting, screening and training volunteers who are needed for all first programs. An estimated 150,000 volunteers, including federally funded vista workers, provide much of the efforts behind first's programs. The costs of the first volunteer program are included on form 990, part iii. The following is the total cost, grants provided, and revenue from our first place programs.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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(800) 871-8326
http://www.firstinspires.org

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Reviews for FIRST

Rating: 5 stars  

When I first joined the robotics team when I was a freshman, I didn't know what I was getting into. Over the years of growing up with FIRST Robotics, I learned how to design, how to write, and how to communicate. FIRST robotics touches every person who participates and it teaches them to lead the future. Much of the recent progress happening in today's society can be traced back, in some way, to FIRST.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been in FIRST for six seasons now, entering my seventh (third FTC). FIRST has greatly influenced and improved my life, by teaching me a slew of skills, from engineering processes to coding to business aspects. As well, I have met a lot of great friends through it. FIRST is awesome!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Im a highschool student in ftc that has only been a part of FIRST for two years but ever since I started I have loved it. It has taught me more about electrical systems 3d modeling, and mechanical designs along with the importance of gracious professionalism and teamwork. FIRST has given me the opprotunity to explore the world of engineering in a way i had never thought of before

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have better advertisements. I only found out about FIRST through my friends and i think a lot more people would be a part of it if they knew about it.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Quite well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Last year we started a FIRST Robotics Team with 7 high school students who just wanted to explore the field of competitive robotics. We had NO idea what we were getting into! After having been through the process of setting up a team, identifying mentors with experience in CAD design, Programming, Electrical Wiring and Mechanical Building, and taking those students through a six week build cycle to complete their first Regional Competition, I can say this is THE best engineering experience hands down. Over the course of the year we recruited 7 more students, raised money to fund our robotic team and got to work closely with industry professionals. Our team members learned what it's like to solve a real engineering problem with real time constraints and real resource limitations. No one is going to do it for you. Your team and the team dynamics are what you make of it. Your fundraising and team marketing is what you make of it. Your robot and your technical skills are as effective as the planning and training and effort that you put into it. It is a great model for the real working world. If you as a student want to be an engineer, this is the opportunity of a lifetime to gets hands-on experience working in a team environment on an engineering challenge that's too big for you to solve.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make the FIRST website a little easier to use.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

As a university admissions official, I have been working with FIRST to provide scholarship opportunities to high school seniors involved in FIRST for the past four years. I am continually impressed by the caliber of the students involved in FIRST, as well as the ways in which FIRST encourages students of all grade levels to enjoy the creativity, teamwork and problem solving involved in meeting each year's robotics challenge. The relationships that students build with their mentors, and the team spirit that FIRST fosters through it's emphasis on gracious professionalism are quite remarkable! These students are generally highly motivated and well prepared for the challenges that wait for them in their university studies, as well as their life after FIRST. The fact that so many student participants become mentors as adults is a testament to the success of the program.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

witnessing the success of the student participants once they arrive on our university campus, as well as their enthusiasm to remain involved in FIRST as mentors.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the experience I've had with the student participants. They are so excited and enthusistic about the challenges presented to them by FIRST and the skills they've gained from working within the organization.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

extremely helpful and enthusiastic about the organization and the student participants.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I started as a high school student in FIRST learning from Engineering mentors about concepts that were not touched in school. The experience helped me shape my motivations for an engineering degree and specifically a focus on Robotics. Now I spend my free time mentoring and teaching high school students in FIRST. The passion and dedication of volunteers in the organization keeps my excitement high every year I've been involved.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I keep very involved by email and mentoring activities once a week. During January I spend almost every day volunteering as a mentor to 30 high school kids.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would try to make robotics and science projects more affordable to student all around the world.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

My time mentoring and participating at competitions with students

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Amazing full of excitement and extremely motivated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand FIRST to more students across the country and help change America's perceptions of science and technology.

Ways to make it better...

The cost was significantly reduced so more students can participate.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Recruiting more lead mentors and highly experienced Robotics teachers. Cost of the entry to schools and serious teacher commitment is also severe drawback year to year.

One thing I'd also say is that...

FIRST is a fantastic organization for high school but a bit too expensive. They need to find ways to reduce cost.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-11-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Hi, my name is Catherine Roney, i'm from Michigan, and I am a freshman at the University of South Carolina. I'm new to the University and so excited to get started with a whole new chapter of my life. The reason I am writing this review though is not about me, it is about FIRST. I'm sure there is much information available from multiple sources about this organization, and I encourage you to look at some of their accomplishments, they are highly impressive. The reason for my review though is to let you know about the FIRST program, which I have tried to portray through my own personal experiences, and hopefully persuade you to choose FIRST as one of the top ten science and tech nonprofits. Alright, here goes. I was a previous FIRSTer. In case you don't know what that means, I was part of a robotics team my senior year of high school that competed in the FIRST competition. FIRST stands For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, it's a mouthful, isn't it? I don't know if you have ever been to a FIRST competition before, and if you have been, I hope you know what I mean when I say it is an experience you'll never forget. I have to say, the energy present at any FIRST competition is invigorating. Those who go, get excited, and they might not even know what they are excited about in some cases. They will see teams work together to do their best in each match, and all the while have fun. Yet, even though the energy level is fun and upbeat, there is still an air of comfort present. What do I mean by this? Well, I have personally experienced and witnessed changes in people when they get involved with FIRST. FIRST is not only a place for people to learn about science and technology and how to build robots, it is a place to learn about oneself. People who normally would be reserved and keep to themselves, open up, make friends, and figure out what they want to do in life. This may all sound cliche but I could not be more sincere and honest with my words. The atmosphere surrounding all that FIRST is involved in is a fantastic learning environment not only for engineer majors, but multiple other majors as well. In fact, I was in charge of all other aspects needed to be done for FIRST to be a team when I was involved with FIRST. Submissions for FIRST awards require literacy and eloquence in writing, getting to know the community and the community to know the team is essential for a team's survival, and even business plans are made. Thus, anyone could join and benefit from being a part of FIRST. There is so much more to FIRST and how influential and important it is to those involved. I do hope you will take what I have said into consideration when deciding upon the top ten science and tech nonprofits. I wish you all the best and thank you so much for your time.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

those who are involved with FIRST as well as myself. When I go to a FIRST competition, i'm not afraid to express who I am. I've seen my friends on my own team as well as other teams open up and have a great time. Who wouldn't want that?

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting those involved. Their enthusiasm is contagious and always a pleasure to be around.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

 
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