The mission of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is to encourage students of all ages to pursue scientific or technical careers, to build self-confidence and to develop problem solving skills. Founded in 1989 by famous inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, the competition has grown from its small beginning to more than 1,300 teams with more than thirty-two thousand students.
For high school students, the FIRST Robotics Competition challenges teams to create a robot capable of playing a "universal game." Optional areas of judging include the Autodesk Visualization Award (a 30 second computer animation), Website, Autodesk Inventor Award, and Entrepreneurship.
However, as founder Dean Kamen might say, “FIRST isn’t about robots. It’s about people”. Teams of people in fact, students working together with experienced mentors and generous sponsors, to strive for excellence and elegance, a concept best verbalized as “gracious professionalism”.