FIRST Announces Recipients of Inaugural Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial Scholarship Fund

Scholarships Awarded to Three Students Pursuing Biomedical Engineering and/or Pre-Medical Degrees

MANCHESTER, N.H., April 11, 2013FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, today announced the recipients of the first annual Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial Scholarships. The Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial FIRST Scholarship Fund, established to honor the memory of long-time FIRST Volunteer and distinguished pediatric oncologist, Bart Kamen, is designed to encourage undergraduate students pursuing biomedical engineering and/or pre-medical degrees. The Fund, which totals over $2 million, will award renewable grants of $10,000 each to three students annually.

“Long ago, I worked with my brother Bart to build a laboratory in the basement of our Long Island home. Our collaboration continued through the development of the Auto Syringe infusion pump, the success of which eventually led to the creation of DEKA, my engineering company in Manchester, New Hampshire,” said Dean Kamen, president of DEKA and FIRST Founder, adding, “Although I had always been a tinkerer, Bart helped me discover my passion for developing medical technologies and using science and engineering to help make a better world. This Memorial Scholarship honors the Mentor in Bart, and three individuals will now benefit from his enthusiasm and passion and his love of science as they pursue their careers in the medical field.”

The Selection Committee for the Fund received over 150 applications for this new scholarship since it was introduced in January. Each applicant demonstrated tremendous academic success, leadership skills within FIRST and other activities, and innovative ideas. After a careful review of all applications, the 2013 Scholarship recipients were selected because they demonstrated innovation, respect for science and engineering, and exhibited compassion in the pursuit of study in biomedical engineering and/or pre-medical studies.

 “All of our 2013 awardees have successfully participated in one of our FIRST four K-12 progression of robotics programs, thereby increasing their interest in bio-medical and pre-med majors.  We are pleased to encourage FIRST participants who have already excelled in their academics to honor the legacy of Dr. Kamen, whose brilliance, compassion, and passion improved the lives of countless patients,” said Bob Tuttle, Interim President, FIRST, adding, “Bart was a remarkable FIRST Volunteer. This scholarship program also recognizes his volunteer contributions and those of so many like him.”

The 2013 Inaugural Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial FIRST Scholarship Fund awardees are:

  • Sofia Dhanani of Gretchen Whitney High School in Cerritos, Calif. - “This scholarship is truly an amazing opportunity, allowing me to pursue my passion for neuroscience in college. I no longer have to worry about working while studying, and I look forward to more time in the library and the lab.” At this time, Dhanani is deciding between University of California at Los Angeles and University of California, and will major in neuroscience.
  • Sarah Rudasill of New Oxford High School in New Oxford, Pa. -“Thanks to the Bart Kamen FIRST Memorial Scholarship, I will select and attend college without accumulating any debt during my undergraduate education. While matriculating into medical school without any debt is certainly a benefit of the scholarship, I also appreciate the scholarship’s encouragement and support in conducting research, particularly in medical advancements and health policy effectiveness.”  Rudasill, who will major in biology and health policy, is deciding between Wake Forest University and the University of Miami’s Honors Program in Medicine.
  • Pascale Wallace Patterson of West Linn High School in West Linn, Ore. - “Because of this scholarship, I can afford to attend University of Washington, where I will be able to participate in one of the best undergraduate bioengineering programs. I was always confident that this school would best prepare me for my future career as a biomedical engineer, and now I have the means to attend this institution and fulfill this dream thanks to the Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial Scholarship.”

Announcement of the establishment of The Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial FIRST Scholarship Fund here.

About FIRST®  
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 support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $16 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to


Media Contacts:

Cheryl Walsh, FIRST
Ph: 603-206-2460