Inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST is a high-school robotics tournament where teams of students work with teachers and engineering mentors to complete a major technical design challenge. They compete for trophies, honors and awards in a spirited competition infused with “gracious professionalism.”
Each year, starting this year, UTC will name five new FIRST Robotics teams that will receive $17,000.00 grants in support of their competition activities over three consecutive years. Teams will receive $8,000.00 in the first year; $6,000.00 in the second year; and $3,000.00 in the third year. Three of the five winning teams will be from public inner-city schools. The scholarships defray expenses that the high-school participants must raise each year for equipment, travel, and entry fees associated with the rigorous competition. UTC structured the scholarship in three phases to help teams establish themselves, learn to raise money and manage a budget.
Earlier this year, UTC committed $75,000 to the 2008 UTC Connecticut FIRST Robotics Competition as a matching grant.
“FIRST inspires the next generation of future engineers, researchers and finance professionals,” said Andrea Doane, UTC Director of Community Affairs and Corporate Giving. “It is a challenging and passionate competition that bases success on math, science and engineering skills, as well as management. All of these skills are vital to continued success at UTC and other research-based industries, but there is a projected shortfall in these academic fields.”
UTC has contributed approximately $2.6 million to FIRST since 1995 when the company began sponsoring teams. In 1999 UTC’s lead sponsorship helped establish the Connecticut Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, one of many regional competitions that take place mainly throughout the United States. This year the UTC Connecticut Regional FIRST Robotics Competition will host a competition between 62 teams out of more than 1,500 teams competing nationwide. UTC employees have volunteered some 27,000 hours annually in support of FIRST in North America, as mentors and competition organizers.
For more information on the UTC scholarship program, go to www.utc.com.
For more information on FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.
United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., USA, is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.