National Partnership Fosters Innovation and Increases the Audience for Robotics Competitions
CHICAGO, Feb. 27, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced a four-year national partnership with FIRSTTM (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), valued at $4 million, to encourage students to explore careers in math and science. This expanded relationship builds upon an ongoing commitment by Boeing employees to help shape the future of technology innovation in the United States.
FIRST is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen, to inspire young people to participate in science and technology. Beginning in January, teams of high school students collaborate with adult mentors during an annual six-week period to design, build and program robots from a common kit of parts for competition.
"We view the excitement created by FIRST as an opportunity to positively influence the perception of math and science by young people," said Rick Stephens, Boeing senior vice president of Human Resources and Administration. "For more than 10 years, our employees have inspired participants through their experience applying teamwork and technical skills to creatively solving complex problems. Expanding our involvement with FIRST will help us encourage more students to experiment with technology and make new discoveries as the future workforce of our industry."
LUNACYTM, the 2009 competition challenge, commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission by staging all events on a low-friction floor to simulate gravity on the moon. During the match, teams recall the discoveries from the first manned mission to land on the moon as they maneuver robots to toss nine-inch "moon rocks" into trailers. FIRST attaches these moving targets to robots designed by the opposing teams as part of the challenge.
"Connecting FIRST teams with Boeing, a company involved in the future of space exploration, will assist us in preparing the next-generation for meeting the economic, environmental and business challenges ahead," said FIRST Founder Dean Kamen. "We are honored Boeing chose FIRST as a partner to help develop its future workforce. The company is committed to producing innovative scientists, engineers and technicians, and these future leaders are in our schools right now at every grade level."
The FIRST Board of Directors recently recognized Boeing as one of nine "Strategic Partners" dedicated to helping the organization further its mission to reach young minds. This designation reflects the company's national, multi-year partnership with FIRST to encourage emerging talent to innovate with math and science.
FIRST is part of a comprehensive investment Boeing makes annually to education initiatives that focus on teacher and leadership development, as well as curriculum enhancements. Projects supported by Boeing reflect a clear set of criteria that emphasize the application of new approaches to solving critical community issues.
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With the support of many of the world's most well-known companies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, the FIRST LEGO® League for children 9-14 years old, and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. Since its beginning, FIRST has had a positive impact on students and academic communities. Participating high-school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply for $9.7 million in scholarships from leading universities, colleges, and companies. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.
Boeing is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined. Additionally, Boeing designs and manufactures rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. As a major service provider to NASA, Boeing operates the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. The company also provides numerous military and commercial airline support services. Boeing has customers in more than 90 countries around the world and is one of the largest U.S. exporters in terms of sales.