FIRST Students Honored at 2015 White House Science Fair

FIRST Part of Innovate to Educate Commitment by President Obama

MANCHESTER, N.H. -FIRST® (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, announced that three FIRST® Robotics Competition teams and FIRST alumni were honored by President Barack Obama at the 5th White House Science Fair, March 23.

President Obama welcomed more than 100 of the nation’s brightest young minds at today’s event, who showcased their inventions, discoveries and science projects from a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. The following FIRST teams and FIRST alumni were saluted by President Obama:

  • FIRST Robotics Competition Team 842 “Falcon Robotics.” This veteran FIRST team from Carl Hayden High School, in Phoenix, has racked up FIRST awards since 2003; the team is still active today. Joshua Davis, contributing editor for WIRED magazine, reported the story of how these four high-school students on Falcon Robotics beat teams of college students from prestigious universities, including MIT, to win an underwater robotics competition. The story became a documentary titled Underwater Dreams, written and directed by Mary Mazzio, and narrated by Michael Peña. Original team member and FIRST Alum, Oscar Vazquez, attended the White House Science Fair along with the current team.

    The Falcon Robotics team’s robot was transported to the White House for free, thanks to complimentary shipping from FedEx, a long-time Strategic Partner level supporter of FIRST.
  • FIRST Robotics Team #5594, “Team Crew 338” from Atlanta. This rookie team represents the only all-foster care team from the Foster Care System of the state. Mentored by Dr. Lonnie Johnson, best known as the inventor of the Supersoaker, the team builds their robot on-site at Johnson Research and Development. This is the only FIRST Robotics Competition rookie team in Georgia to receive a NASA grant, which allowed them to participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition - Peachtree Regional.
  • Junior FIRST LEGO League Team the "Supergirls," a Girl Scout troop from Tulsa, Okla., also attended the Fair to showcase their Battery Powered Page Turner. After speaking with their school librarian, the Supergirls discovered that some people have disabilities that make it difficult to turn the pages of a book. They came up with the concept of a battery-powered page turner that could turn pages for people who are paralyzed or have arthritis

FIRST students have been asked to participate in the White House Science Fair since the iconic event began in 2010.

“We remain proud of our talented FIRST participants and alumni who, year after year, are honored by the White House for their bold thinking and impressive accomplishments in STEM. This year, we are thrilled that some of our alumni from past White House Science Fairs have earned patents for their inventions,” said Don Bossi, president of FIRST.

This year’s Science Fair focused on females who are excelling in STEM and inspiring the next generation with their work, as part of the President’s Innovate to Educate campaign. FIRST is supporting this campaign with a commitment to increase access to its life-changing Progression of Programs for K-12.

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 $20 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 Contact:

Brooke Blew, FIRST
Ph. 603-206-2048