Welcome to Inspire, a blog from FIRST.

After years of inspiring young people, as well as the adults who work with them, we decided it was time to share some of the things that inspire us.

Learn more about Inspire.

Podcast junkies, kidney transplants, and two innovative educators

Mar 02, 2016 by Mark Greenlaw

I’m a huge fan of podcasts – in fact my official FIRST bio mentions me as a “podcast junkie”. It’s actually to FIRST in which I owe my love of Podcasts. When I started this job 2 years ago, I began listening to Podcasts to maximize the value of my drive time on my 60 mile commute.

You are now entering an Innovation Zone!

Feb 23, 2016

This week, we discovered an amazing educator named Krissy Venosdale who is the Innovation Coordinator at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas.

Confidence, adaptability, and self-directed learning

Feb 16, 2016 by Drew McConnell, Manager of Digital Learning, FIRST

Prior to working at FIRST, I spent some time working as a technology trainer and instructional designer. A company hired me to create a course on iOS programming (iPhone/iPad). After spending several months developing this course, Apple did what Apple does: it released something new. Typically a new release from Apple includes an upgraded phone or laptop with new hardware and software features, but this time it released a brand new programming language for iOS, called Swift.

Passion for STEM lands two young people White House invite

Feb 10, 2016

It’s not every day you’re invited to the State of the Union Address, much less as a personal guest of First Lady Michelle Obama. So there was no playbook to follow for FIRST Alums Lydia Doza and Oscar Vazquez, as they traveled from their homes in rural Oregon and Fort Worth, Texas, to the White House last month.

Hedgehogs, Flow, and 10,000 hours: Helping young people find their path

Feb 02, 2016 by Mark Greenlaw

As parents and educators, we often have the opportunity to speak with the young people in our lives about their future. We may start with the question “so what do you want to do when you grow up?” which typically elicits responses ranging from a blank stare to a confident pronouncement “play shortstop for the Boston Red Sox.”

Mentors: changing lives, increasing opportunity

Jan 27, 2016 by Mark Greenlaw


January is National Mentoring Month, which provides us with the perfect opportunity to hit the pause button and take a few minutes to reflect on the tremendous impact that adult mentors can have on young people. As with many other youth-serving organizations, volunteer mentors are critically important to our ability to achieve our mission and transform the lives of young people across the world.

The importance of being earnest (about failure)

Jan 20, 2016 by Rachel Holladay, student and research roboticist, Carnegie Mellon University


Adorned on a landscape background, sitting in posters across classrooms, a Thomas Edison quote reads "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."1 It is an inspiring thought that is very easy to say in hindsight. But what if you are on trial #1,912 or #3,504 and all you have faced thus far is failure?

Robotics: The only high school sport where every kid can go pro

Jan 13, 2016 by Ray Almgren, Chairman, FIRST in Texas and Vice President, National Instruments

Recently, Texas joined a growing list of states that have launched initiatives to make robotics a full-fledged sport, accessible to all students. In the following article, Ray Almgren, Chairman, FIRST in Texas and Vice President, National Instruments shares why school-based programs like this are so important to the future workforce of the United States. 

Robotics is the sport for the 21st century.

You don’t have to be COOL to be a STEM Role Model

Jan 06, 2016 by Meagan Pollock, Director of Professional Development, NAPE

I wasn’t particularly cool in high school, though I wasn’t exactly un-cool either. Successfully crossing the boundaries between the jocks, brainiacs, and the student council kids, I made it through mostly unscathed. Being a national champion powerlifter, ranked number 2 in my class, and winning student body President on a platform of “Change” afforded me a semi-safe haven in this liminal state between cool/un-cool. Of course, I wanted to be cool; who didn’t in high school?

Who is ‘Most Likely to Succeed’?

Dec 28, 2015 By Mark Greenlaw

“The purpose of education is to engage students with their passions and growing sense of purpose, teach them critical skills needed for career and citizenship, and inspire them to do their very best to make their world better.”

Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith in “Most Likely to Succeed”