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The Citadel to Host the Palmetto Regional FIRST Robotics Competition

What is FIRST?

Vision & Mission

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 with a vision "to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders." (Dean Kamen, Founder).

Its mission 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.

FIRST's Impact

FIRST works closely with research and academic organizations to provide tangible evidence of our impact on students’ education and career choices.

Brandeis University Study

Recently, Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities conducted an independent, retrospective survey of FIRST Robotics Competition participants and compared results to a group of non-FIRST students with similar backgrounds and academic experiences, including math and science. Highlights of the study’s findings include:

When compared with the comparison group, FIRST students are:

  • More than 3 times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
  • Roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year.
  • Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree.
  • More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology.
  • Nearly 4 times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering.
  • More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.

The Event

Every Spring, FIRST Robotics Competitions are held all around the world. This year, there will be 52 regional competitions held in the US, Canada and Israel. The Citadel is the host institution for the Palmetto region's FIRST Robotics Competition, which will be held March 22-24, 2012 at the North Charleston Coliseum. The event is free and open to the public. Other event sponsors include The City of North Charleston and The Palmetto Partners.

There are 31 South Carolina teams registered to compete in this event, alongside 12-15 teams from eight additional states.

The regional event kicked off Saturday, January 7th on The Citadel's campus, and NASA featured a live stream of the national kickoff event on their website.

At the kickoff, teams received competition kits, and the six week time period to build robots began. All teams are now in preparation of competing in one or more regional competitions. Student/sponsor teams are vying for an invitation to attend and participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship held in St. Louis on April 26-28, 2012. This year, 26 teams will participate in the kickoff, the largest number of teams in the SC regional in more than 9 years.

Learn more at:

FIRST Robotics National Website:
Palmetto Regional FIRST Robotics Competition website:

Palmetto Regional FIRST on Facebook:
Palmetto Regional FIRST on Twitter:

Banner photo credit: Adriana M. Groisman

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