Our FIRST Tech Challenge Team was tasked with designing, building, programming, and operating Sheppie, but FIRST is about way more than just building robots. Our kids are guided by mentors that help them develop their engineering, marketing, teamwork, and networking skills. FIRST also provides access to over $80M in college scholarships.
Playing in the 'ultimate Sport for the Mind' for high school students, the FIRST Robotics Challenge really made engineers out of our team. We had strict rules, an impossible timeline, and about half of a complete kit. We got innovative and creative in the quest to compete, and built a ramp robot with 'make do' (recycled parts), that finished in the Final Four our very FIRST year.
Our ultimate purpose as an organization is to change the conversation in the minority community about STEM careers and scholarship opportunities. We encourage all of our participants to seek higher education and come back to share what they've learned/experienced with the next generation of technology workers.