FIRST Tech Challenge Dean's List

In an effort to recognize the leadership and dedication of FIRST’s most outstanding FIRST Tech Challenge students, the Kamen family sponsors an Award for selected top students known as the FIRST Dean’s List. Since its introduction in 2010, the FIRST Dean’s List Award has attracted the attention of prestigious colleges and universities who desire to recruit FIRST Dean’s List students. Similar to the very prestigious National Merit Scholarship Award winners, there are three (3) “categories” of FIRST Dean’s List Award students:

  1. FIRST Dean’s List Semi-Finalists
    • FIRST Dean’s List Semi-Finalists are the students nominated by each Team to compete for the FIRST Dean’s List Finalist spots.
  2. FIRST Dean’s List Finalists
    • The students selected to be recognized at each State/Regions Championship that are in the running for the FIRST Dean’s List Winner spots.
  3. FIRST Dean’s List Winners
    • The group of 10 students who are the final selection for the Dean’s List Award at the FIRST World Championship.

Each FIRST Tech Challenge Team is invited to select up to two (2) students who are in the 10th or 11th grade (sophomores or juniors) as FIRST Dean's List Semi-Finalists. The students who earn FIRST Dean’s List Award status as a Semi-Finalists, Finalist or Winner, are great examples of student leaders who have led their Teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission. These students have also achieved personal technical expertise and accomplishment. It is the intention of FIRST that these individuals will continue on, post-Award, as great leaders, student alumni, and advocates of FIRST.

Prestigious colleges have expressed great interest in meeting FIRST Dean’s List’s Award winners and FIRST hopes that each Team will take advantage of the opportunity to nominate the most qualified students as FIRST Dean’s List Nominees!


Every registered Team in North America can submit two (2) students as FIRST Dean’s List Award Semi-Finalists.

  • Students must be a sophomore (grade 10) or junior (grade 11) to be eligible for this Award.
  • The Coach or Mentor nominating the student(s) must submit an essay explaining why the student should receive this Award. The essay must be 4,000 characters or less.


Criteria for selection of the FIRST Dean's List shall include, but not be limited to a student's:

  • Demonstrated leadership and commitment to the ideals of FIRST;
  • Interest in and passion for a long term commitment to FIRST and its ideals;
  • Overall individual contribution to their Team;
  • Technical expertise and passion;
  • Entrepreneurship and creativity;
  • Ability to motivate and lead fellow Team members; and
  • Ability to effectively increase awareness of FIRST in their school and community.

The Mentor or Coach, who is not related to either of the students chosen as the team’s Dean’s List Semi-finalists, should gather the required information in order for the student Team member to interview for the FIRST Dean’s List Finalist designation at one (1) Qualifying Event, League Championship or Interview Only Event. Applications will require:

  • Nominee name
  • Nominee Grade
  • Nominee GPA
  • Qualifying Event for the Dean’s List Interview to Take Place
  • Nomination essay of no more than 4,000 characters
  • Photo of Semi-Finalist (optional)

A photograph of the FIRST Dean’s List Semi-Finalist is encouraged, but optional. Coaches can submit up to three photos of the student, and FIRST encourages at least one of the photos to be a head shot of the student. The essay submission and such photos may be used, in promotion of the recipient and/or the Award, at the discretion of FIRST

Deadlines for Submissions

Dean’s List nominations must be submitted 14 calendar days prior to the Event. The 14 calendar days includes the Event day and holidays. The nominations must be made by 11:59pm Eastern Time prior to the Event closing (the 15th calendar day before the Event). No exceptions will be made for late entries.


There are three levels of Competition where a Dean’s List Semi-Finalist must be interviewed:

  • Qualifying Tournament
  • League Championship
  • Interview Only (for regions that have not yet implemented Qualifying Tournaments or League structures).

It is required that the Coach/Mentor making the nomination choose an Event within their own state/region AND an Event where they will be competing for the Semi-Finalist to be interviewed. This is a vital step as the nomination along with notes from the Interview feed up to the State/Region Championship. Only if a state does not have Events should a Coach/Mentor apply for a different region.

The FIRST Robotics Competition Dean’s List Finalists will be honored at the award ceremonies at the applicable qualifying event.

At the FIRST Championship all FIRST Dean’s List Finalists will be considered for the award as applicable. No interviews will take place at FIRST Championship. Judges will use the essays provided and any interview feedback available. Finalists need not be present at the FIRST Championship in order to be considered. Ten (10) FIRST Robotics Competition students will be selected as FIRST Robotics Competition Dean’s List Award Winners and ten (10) FIRST Tech Challenge students will be selected as FIRST Tech Challenge Dean’s List Award Winners for the 2016 season.

The ten 2016 FIRST Tech Challenge Dean’s List Award winners and ten 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition Dean’s List Award winners will each receive the following:

  • An unique trophy and public recognition at FIRST Championship
  • A written recommendation from FIRST leadership to the college(s) or employers of their choice
  • A credit towards the winning students team next season registration fee
  • A commemorative plaque for the student’s school
  • An invitation for them and a chaperon to attend an expense paid FIRST Dean’s List Award Summit at FIRST headquarters in Manchester, NH; and
  • An opportunity to work with all members of the FIRST Dean’s list and FIRST leaders to advance the Alumni mission of FIRST.

Mentors/Coaches must review the Dean’s List Submission Guide prior to making their Dean’s List nomination. Submissions must be made using the Team Information Management System (TIMS).

2015 FIRST Tech Challenge Dean’s List Award Winners

  • James Chin, Team 310, Stuy Fission, New York, NY
  • Stephen Eckert, Team 5466, Combustible Lemons, Davenport, IA
  • Sarah Fogwell, Team 4856, Minnie MASH, West Vincent, PA
  • Serena Grown-Haeberli, Team 7593, TigerBots, Belmont, CA
  • Laura Irvine, Team 8438, Quantum Leap, Stillwater, MN
  • Hannah Liao, Team 4250, LIGHTSABERS, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Mashroor Rashid, Team 2408, Shrapnel Sergeants, Hazelwood, MO
  • Cameron Richards, Team 6987, Hat Trix, Granville, OH
  • Katherine Thomas, Team 7172, Technical Difficulties, Plano, TX
  • Austin Wang, Team 5206, The Knights of Ni, Stanford, CA

See also:  Recording of the Dean's List Award Presentation