FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

While it is best known for robotics competitions, FIRST is More Than Robots. FIRST participation is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21st century work-life skills. FIRST® began with 28 teams in a New Hampshire high-school gym. Today, the four FIRST programs reach over 400,000 young people annually.

This FIRST Program Grant by BEF, seeded by a generous donation from Dean Kamen in honor of tonight’s event, will augment and expand the existing robotics and STEM specific programs in the Bedford Schools. Future grant recipients of the FIRST Program Grants must demonstrate a dedication to STEM focused programs and related professional development. We are thrilled to kickoff this new partnership to inspire and support science technology, and engineering opportunities for our students.