FIRST and UNCF Announce New Scholars Program

The FIRST x UNCF Scholars Program Will Serve Students Pursuing Undergraduate Programs at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)


MANCHESTER, NH, March 22, 2022 FIRST®, a robotics community that prepares young people for the future, today announced a new initiative that, in cooperation with UNCF (United Negro College Fund), will make scholarships available to students who are pursuing undergraduate programs in their field of choice at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). The FIRST x UNCF Scholars Program is a new effort that builds upon the many cross-sector and industry collaborations that FIRST leverages to develop and deliver strategies that remove barriers and ensure greater access to FIRST programs and educational opportunities for youth around the world.

For more than seven decades, UNCF has raised more than $5 billion to support more than 500,000 students, helping them not only attend college, but thrive, graduate and become leaders in their respective fields. Founded in 1944, UNCF is the nation’s leading advocate for expanding educational opportunities for historically marginalized students.

“We are thrilled to partner with UNCF on this new Scholars Program that will help break down financial barriers and provide opportunities for students to gain access to higher education,” said Dr. Janell N. Catlin, Senior Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at FIRST. “It is a great honor to work with UNCF, as they have been tirelessly helping underrepresented students attend college for over 70 years. The FIRST x UNCF Scholars Program is indicative of our aligned missions, which emphasize that all students should have the resources needed to prepare for a successful future.”

The FIRST x UNCF Scholars Program is an initiative designed to identify and provide scholarship and academic support for FIRST alumni who aspire to become leaders and innovators in their respective fields. The Program will award five students with one-time scholarships in the amount of $10,000 and will be open for matriculated college students attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), Tribal College and University (TCU), or Asian-American and Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI).

“We appreciate this gift from FIRST and look forward to a lasting relationship that empowers students who face financial challenges to remain on their path to obtain a college degree,” said Maurice Jenkins, UNCF Executive Vice President for Development. “This gift is much needed and will have a lasting impact on our students and their ability to succeed in life.”

Applications are open now through June 23, 2022. Learn more:

For more information about the FIRST commitment to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion, please visit:

Research from a multi-year longitudinal study shows FIRST is advancing its mission to increase the number of students interested in STEM -- and that interest in influencing their educational and career choices. FIRST students are two times more likely to show an increase in STEM-related attitudes and interests than comparison group students. Positive impacts are evident for all FIRST students regardless of race, gender, income, or community type. For more information about the FIRST Alumni Community and exclusive opportunities for alumni of FIRST programs, please visit:



FIRST® is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. Boosted by a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and showcase their achievements during annual challenges. An international not-for-profit organization founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Alumni of FIRST programs gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships, and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers. Learn more at

About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20% of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.