FIRST® Welcomes Martine Rothblatt to Board of Directors

Innovative CEO and founder of United Therapeutics joins leadership of global K-12 STEM organization


MANCHESTER, NH, May 31, 2022 – FIRST®, an international not-for-profit organization with the mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, today announced the election of Martine Rothblatt, CEO, Chairperson, and Founder of United Therapeutics, to the organization’s Board of Directors

“Martine has an incredible legacy of STEM innovation, and we are ecstatic to have her join the FIRST Board of Directors,” said Kelly Ortberg, FIRST Board Chairman. “As a STEM innovator herself, having made incredible contributions to everything from satellite communications to biotechnology, Martine is the kind of innovative entrepreneur we hope FIRST students aspire to be. Her leadership and guidance will be instrumental to the organization’s continued growth.”

Dean Kamen, FIRST Founder and DEKA Research & Development Corporation President, said, “I am thrilled to welcome Martine to the FIRST Board of Directors. Martine and United Therapeutics have been longtime program supporters of FIRST teams, as well as our FIRST Championship and Gala events, for several years. She and I share the firm belief that there is no better organization than FIRST to make the world a better place.”

The Board of Directors also appointed Kelly Ortberg as Chairman for a new term, along with Donald Bossi, Richard L. Clemmer, and Dr. Laurie Leshin as Vice Chairs; Dr. Vince Wilczynski as Treasurer, and Chris Moore as Secretary. Learn more about FIRST Leadership.

“Martine is an inspiration to aspiring technologists everywhere,” said Chris Moore, FIRST CEO. “We are honored to have her play a larger role in shaping and promoting STEM education for millions of students worldwide. We need more students who have STEM savvy and drive to develop creative solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing the world. We look forward to collaborating with Martine, and all members of the Board, in new ways as we work toward this mission together.”

The FIRST Board of Directors is comprised of a cross section of leaders from business, government, education, and the sciences that have the fiduciary responsibility to provide strategic direction and organizational oversight for all activities of FIRST. The Board’s Governance Committee periodically reviews candidates to nominate individuals who will bring the most to the organization and the Board in terms of experience and expertise to support the longer-term strategic objectives of FIRST.

More information about Rothblatt is included in her bio below:

Martine Rothblatt

Martine Rothblatt is the Chairperson & CEO of United Therapeutics Corporation (UT). She started UT to save her youngest child's life from a rare illness after having previously created SiriusXM satellite radio and other satellite communications systems. She is also responsible for several innovations in aviation and architecture, including the design and piloting of an electric helicopter to Guinness world records and creating the world's largest zero carbon footprint building. Her company is now saving hundreds of lives a year with medicines for pulmonary hypertension and neuroblastoma, and by restoring otherwise discarded donor lungs to transplantability. UT is also in pre-clinical development of manufactured kidneys, hearts and lungs to be delivered via autonomously flown electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) systems. Dr. Rothblatt led the efforts to create the first genetically-modified porcine hearts and kidneys transplanted into humans (xenotransplantation), resulting in a life-saving xeno-heart transplant in January 2022.

Dr. Rothblatt earned her Ph.D. in Medical Ethics from the Royal London College of Medicine and Dentistry after earning JD and MBA degrees from UCLA, which also recently awarded her the UCLA Medal, its highest honor. She is an inventor on several patents and the author of several books, the most recent of which pertain to artificial cognition and cyber-consciousness.

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 after-school 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. Participants and alumni of FIRST programs gain access to education and career discovery opportunities, connections to exclusive scholarships and employers, and a place in the FIRST community for life. Learn more at