FIRST was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen who believes that FIRST’s purpose is “to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science technology leaders.”. 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. Two essential values of the FIRST philosophy are “Gracious Professionalism” and “Coopertition.”

“Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It’s a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.”

“Coopertition produces innovation. At FIRST, Coopertition is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.”