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.

Investing in A Culture of Gratitude

Nov 22, 2017 By Mark Giordono, Vice President of Development, FIRST

This time of year, many of us pause to give thanks. At FIRST, we’re grateful to our tireless mentors, coaches, volunteers, alumni, sponsors, fundraisers and donors who support our mission wholeheartedly. They deserve to hear our thanks not just now, or at the end of the season, but all year round.

To Hire STEM-Literate Graduates, Companies Must Help Develop Them

Oct 18, 2017 By Don Bossi, President, FIRST

The demand for qualified STEM talent is urgent; opportunities in STEM fields are expected to reach more than 2.7 million openings in 2020. And, in the not-so-distant future, all careers – whether they’re in engineering or marketing, blue-collar or white-collar – will require STEM skills and digital literacy.

How One Teacher Founded a Whole New High School Inspired by FIRST

Sep 27, 2017 Interview by Robyn D. Shulman, founder and senior editor, EdNews Daily

Scott Heister, an engineering and physics teacher, has taught in the Ypsilanti, Michigan, community for the past 25 years and has mentored FIRST teams for 19 years. When his school district restructured a few years ago, Heister pushed for a new school built around principles of FIRST, inspired by the engagement he saw in his students during the robotics season.

How One Act of Kindness Changed Me

Sep 20, 2017 By Rhodes Conover, FIRST Alumnus; Student, Florida Polytechnic University

We had failed. As other teams celebrated their victories, our robot sat motionless on the playing field; each cheer from the crowd felt like salt in our wounds.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers: K–12 and Beyond

Aug 30, 2017 By Nancy Boyer, Director of Research & Evaluation, FIRST

The following article was originally published by the IEEE Computer Society in the July 2017 issue of Computer magazine as part of a special issue on challenge-based learning.

Preparing a 21st century workforce requires educators to actively engage students to become critical thinkers and active learners through challenging-based learning. FIRST engages students to work in teams with industry professionals and accomplish a specific science-based or engineering challenge through the exploration of multiple technologies and methodologies, including programming languages, computer-aided design, mechanics, electronics, and internet research.

How 3 Teachers Who Knew Nothing About Robotics Started a FIRST Program

Aug 23, 2017

The following article was originally published on We Are Teachers.

When Maureen Reilly, fourth-grade teacher at PS 261 in Brooklyn, NY, decided to co-lead a FIRST® LEGO® League team at her school, she had no idea what to expect.

This Season from a Freshman: On the Bus Home from FIRST Championship

May 11, 2017 by Ryan Mares, FIRST Team 93, NEW Apple Corps, Appleton, Wis.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Reddit. The author, a ninth-grade student from Wisconsin, shared his thoughts as he rode the bus home from FIRST Championship St. Louis.

Marching for Science: We need STEM education and educated policymaking

Apr 28, 2017 by FIRST Alum, Melody Tan

The following article was originally published on

On April 22, scientists and science supporters gathered at Sam Houston Park for the Houston March for Science.

Sparking Ideas: Inspiring Kids to Innovate

Mar 29, 2017 By Ashton Cofer

Ashton Cofer and his FIRST® LEGO® League team won the 2016 FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award for developing a process to convert Styrofoam waste into activated carbon, which can be used to purify water. Here, he writes about what inspires him and his teammates to innovate.

Adults Need Playtime, Too!

Mar 23, 2017 By Dr. AnnMarie Thomas, Associate Professor of Engineering and Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, where she directs the Playful Learning Lab

Just like your students, finding activities you choose which allow you to find joy in the process is important. Take time to find that joy for yourself.