First Robotics

TechStart sponsors teams interested in FIRST Robotics with funding, equipment, mentors and space. This is a very competitive field, and the kids love it! Why? Because it’s NOT battle bots. The kids spend anywhere from 5-50 hours a week on their bots to compete for a specific goal. This way the focus is on efficiency instead of destruction.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)

was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, FIRST® K-12 STEM education programs use robot challenges to build science and technology skills and interests, in a character driven experience that also inspires self confidence, leadership, and life skills . In Florida, FIRST serves nearly 10,000 students statewide.

FIRST at a Glance

Overall Reach – All Programs Combined (projected for the 2015-16 season)

  • 400,000+ students
  • 44,000+ teams
  • 37,000+ robots created
  • 100,000+ Mentors/adult supporter roles filled
  • 100,000+ other Volunteer roles filled (e.g. event Volunteers, Affiliate Partners, VISTAs)

Return on investment in FIRST Programs

The economic return on investments in FIRST STEM education programs is a tangible increase in improved standard of living and higher spending power for STEM skilled workers , who realize an 11% boost in real wages compared with those living in the least STEM oriented metropolitan areas. (The Hidden STEM Economy, Brookings, 2013). Furthermore, the majority of students involved in FIRST programs report (FIRST Robotics Competition Evaluation: Executive Summary April 2005, Center for Youth and Communities, Brandeis ) :

  • Improved grades & school achievement
  • Increased understanding of the value of teamwork
  • An increased understanding of the role of science and technology in everyday life
  • Increased interest in science and technology generally and increased interest in science
  • and technology careers
  • Increased self-confidence and an increased motivation to do well in school
  • Improved communications, interpersonal, time management and problem-solving skills,
  • and how to apply academic skills in real-world settings.
  • Learned to apply traditional academic skills in real-world setting
  • Workforce and academic readiness

For More Information

Visit FIRST in Florida at or US FIRST at to learn more.

or contact:

Terri Willingham, Regional Director, Central Florida

Sandra Contreras, Regional Director, South Florida

Chuck Kennedy, Regional Director, North Florida