SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FIRST®, an international, K-12 not-for-profit founded to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, rallied support for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education through a series of activities on Tuesday during its inaugural VIP reception, aboard the USS Midway in San Diego.
FIRST Founder, Dean Kamen, hosted the event in partnership with retired Rear Admiral and USS Midway CEO, Mac McLaughlin, and the event’s host committee and sponsors, technology and consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and Qualcomm Incorporated.
The theme of the evening was “Learn. Explore. Inspire:”
Learn: Attendees learned from FIRST students who demonstrated their knowledge, skills, and programming through live robot demonstrations.
Explore: Attendees had the chance to explore the USS Midway, through docent-led tours and exhibits like the Battle of the Midway theatre.
Inspire: Guests left inspired by how communities like San Diego—steeped in STEM and military tradition—are coming together to create better access to, and more opportunities for, high-quality programs for underserved youth.
“By providing young people with opportunities to explore new worlds, FIRST is making a big difference in their lives - and in our future,” said Matt Grob, executive vice president and CTO of Qualcomm Incorporated. “Qualcomm is proud to support organizations like FIRST that are encouraging the next generation of talented scientists and engineers and preparing them to become the next innovators, change agents, and decision makers of the future.”
The evening was a celebration of the collaborative efforts happening across the education, corporate, and military sectors to advance STEM education in military and underserved communities in San Diego. As part of the event, Booz Allen invited student reporters and photographers from Military Kids’ Life magazine to capture their peers in action.
"The average military child goes to as many as eight different schools, and as a result, military children tend to lack access to consistent STEM education experiences that move with them," said Jennifer Brooks, a Booz Allen vice president who leads the firm’s business supporting Navy clients in San Diego. "FIRST is uniquely positioned to engage our military families and children globally. Booz Allen has been a proud supporter of FIRST since 2004, and we look forward to working with FIRST to increase access to this life changing experience—life changing for kids, their families, and the volunteers who get involved.”
In addition to the student and robot demonstrations, the event featured local student and mentor speakers who shared testimonials about their experiences in the FIRST programs.
City Councilman Chris Cate, representing the Sixth District, presented FIRST President Donald E. Bossi with a City Council proclamation recognizing the positive impact of FIRST on San Diegan youth.
Bossi and Kamen, addressed event attendees and applauded the San Diego community for embracing programs like FIRST, which has been influencing the STEM education movement across the country and internationally since 1989.
“FIRST represents the best of what America can be,” said Kamen. “If we want to create a generation of kids to solve the problems facing the world, we need science and technology passion. We have to inspire them to want to do that, and that’s what FIRST does.”
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 $30 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12;FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. 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 www.firstinspires.org.