What is FIRST?

FIRST Robotics is an organization that was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen. The mission of FIRST 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..." (FIRST website). It offers opportunities for scholarships and promotes good sportsmanship and cooperation.

What does FIRST stand for?

  • For
  • Inspiration and
  • Recognition of
  • Science and
  • Technology

What is 'Gracious Professionalism' and 'Coopertition'?

Gracious Professionalism is the FIRST idea that combined the notions of mutual gain and fierce competition in a relationship that benefits both the team and the community. "Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended" in the theory of Gracious Professionalism.

Coopertition is showing kindness and dignity in the face of competition. It involves learning from your team. Teaching your friends. Learning from mentors. Coopertition is truly the essence of what FIRST is all about.

How does FIRST impact students?

When compared with students not involved in FIRST, FIRST students are:

  • More than 3 times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
  • Roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year.
  • Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree.
  • More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology.
  • Nearly 4 times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering.
  • More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.

FIRST really does help students achieve a future beneficial to them!


FIRST® STEAMWORKS, the 2017 FIRST® Robotics Competition game, invites two adventurers’ clubs, in an era where steam power reigns, to prepare their airships for a long distance race.

Each three-team alliance prepares in three ways:

  1. Build steam pressure. Robots collect fuel (balls) and score it in their boiler via high and low efficiency goals. Boilers turn fuel into steam pressure which is stored in the steam tank on their airship – but it takes more fuel in the low efficiency goal to build steam than the high efficiency goal.
  2. Start rotors. Robots deliver gears to pilots on their airship for installation. Once the gear train is complete, they turn the crank to start the rotor.
  3. Prepare for flight. Robots must latch on to their airship before launch (the end of the match) by ascending their ropes to signal that they’re ready for takeoff.