I’m going to change it up a little bit and talk more of something that is close to my heart: FIRST. It stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. It is a very ambitious organization that has a lot of goals.

It is mostly a way of getting kids interested in engineering. What better way than a robotics competition? Different for elementary, middle and high school, but with all a similar structure. The High school and middle school teams are given a game for robots to play on and the teams have 6 weeks to build robot. This is a short amount of time even for the professional world, and I am surprised that my high school team has succeeded in building a robot every year. This forces the kids to learn how to build quickly and have a good understanding of the design process. They need to have a lot of dedications: to show up everyday and to stay on tasked to build the robot by the very short deadline. It is quite an intense rush and a little bit hard to balance with schoolwork.

They also try to teach kids good lessons. Gracious Professionalism is huge part of FIRST. It is to treat other teams with respect and help them out when they need it. It is quite different to how sports teams work. They do whatever they can to beat the other team. In FIRST, we all try to work together to do the best we can. Teams loan each other spare parts, help with code, even help building. One of the best examples is when in the finals of a competition, a robot broke down, they enemy alliance called a time out and helped out the other team fix the robot. Not something you would ever see on a football field.

FIRST sponsored by a lot of companies. NASA always want to get kids interested in engineering, but other tech firms like Booz Allen and Northrup Grumman want to help support and ‘train’ potential employees. Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama support FIRST. Even celebrities like Steven Colbert and Will.I.am are for FIRST. When you go to a competition, you feel very appreciated when you hear from CEO’s from companies talk about how great it is to have kids interested in engineering so early.

Now. to get into more of my usual blogging, I’ll talk a mini-meme in FIRST. When Will.i.am first was shown on TV he was asked how did he feel about this game. Here is his response:

I quite agree.  The games are always exciting: basketball, soccer, tube-stacking, the games are always from to watch and the energy at competitions are amazing (especially with all the dancing and conga lines).

FIRST is an amazing organization.  I will always remember what FIRST did for me and I will support my old team to help shape kids to be sharper and better people.