What’s Next for ‘FIRST?’ One Wildly Successful Student Event Becomes Two

firstPost authored by Donna Kastner, Event Marketing Specialist

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.

With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, FIRST hosts an assortment of mentor-based programs, including 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. We caught up with Andrea Mikus, director of events and Ron Falcone, director of strategic sourcing and services to learn more about the FIRST success story.

FIRST serves a wide range of audiences — tell us more about the people who attend FIRST events.

You’re now into your third decade of designing remarkable event experiences, with nothing but growth on the horizon. What event innovation is FIRST planning to tackle next?

Splitting one wildly successful student championship event into two? What prompted you to make this change?

Data capture and analysis is a challenge for many event organizers. Given the size and scope of your events, how are you addressing this and what are you learning about your audience?

Besides serving a younger audience, in what other ways are FIRST events different from other conferences or trade shows?

[At this point, Ron Falcone joined us and we had two more questions for him.]

Global expansion is a goal for many organizations today. Is there a vision for global expansion at FIRST?

Gender equality is a hot topic, especially as it applies to opportunities for women in STEM fields. How is this playing out for your events?

We applaud FIRST for their outstanding work in advancing student awareness and engagement in science and technology fields. To give you a glimpse at the impact they’re having, FIRST participants are:

  • Twice as likely to major in science or engineering in college
  • 88% more interested in doing well in school
  • 90% more interested in taking on more challenging math or science courses

As if that’s not enough, the smiles in this 90-second highlights reel from the 2016 FIRST Championship speak volumes about the life-changing experiences FIRST delivers. To learn more about FIRST, visit www.firstinspires.org.

How do you think a program like FIRST would benefit students within your community and school district? 

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