For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®), a strategic partner of the Department of Defense (DoD) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) under the Defense STEM Education Consortium for inspiring future STEM talent, hosted two annual world championship competitions in Houston, TX and Detroit, MI in April 2019, where inspiring young innovators, leaders, and changemakers were celebrated for their STEM achievements.
FIRST is the world’s largest after-school student-serving organization that inspires students of all ages to gain a greater appreciation for STEM and to pursue STEM career opportunities. The overall theme for the 2018-19 season was “FIRST Launch: All Systems Go” and was focused on a variety of space-related missions. The FIRST Championship is the culmination of the season's FIRST programs, bringing together three separate robotics competitions for the ultimate Sport for the Mind™. The event includes the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) World Championship, the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship, and the FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) World Festival.
More than 33,000 attendees watched approximately 15,000 students from 40 countries compete with team-built robots at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Minute Maid Park, and Discovery Green. Of the 404 FRC teams competing at the Houston Championship, DoD STEM sponsored 37 from nine states. Sixteen of the DoD-sponsored FRC teams advanced to their division playoffs and competed in elimination matches. Team FRC 6829, Ignite Robotics from Georgia, advanced the farthest during the competition and was part of the Roebling Division Winning Alliance before being eliminated during the Einstein round-robin matches. Two DoD STEM-sponsored FRC teams received division-level awards:
- Team FRC 368, Team Kika Mana from Hawaii, won the Innovation in Control Award; and
- Team FRC 932, the Circuit Chargers from Oklahoma, won the Safety Award.
Additionally, three DoD STEM-sponsored FLL and six FTC teams competed at the Houston Championship.
More than 43,000 attendees watched approximately 17,000 students from 37 countries compete with team-built robots at the Cobo Center and Ford Field. Of the 408 FIRST FRC teams competing at the Detroit Championship, DoD STEM sponsored 39 from 12 states and the District of Columbia. Twenty-three of the DoD-sponsored FRC teams advanced to their division playoffs and competed in elimination matches. Team FRC 5401, the Fightin' Robotic Owls from Pennsylvania, advanced the farthest during the competition and was part of the Tesla Division Winning Alliance before being eliminated during the Einstein round-robin matches. Five DoD STEM-sponsored FRC teams received division-level awards:
- Team FRC 27, Team RUSH from Michigan, won the Entrepreneurship Award;
- Team FRC 319, Big Bad Bob from New Hampshire, won the Excellence in Engineering Award;
- Team FRC 1403, Cougar Robotics from New Jersey, won the Gracious Professionalism Award;
- Team FRC 1676, The Pascack PI-oneers from New Jersey, won the Innovation in Control Award; and
- Team FRC 2723, Team Rocket from Oklahoma, won the Judge’s Award.
Additionally, Paige Drob from Team FRC 1718, The Fighting Pi, won the Dean’s List Award which recognizes and celebrates her as an “outstanding student leader whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary.”
Lastly, five DoD STEM-sponsored FTC teams competed at the Detroit Championship, including Team FTC 4130, Expected Error!!, from the DoD Education Activity high school at Aviano Air Base in Italy.
The DoD is proud of all of its teams and wishes all students continued success in their STEM education. The Department looks forward to hearing about their amazing achievements in the FIRST program!
Photo by Team FRC 303
Photo by Team FRC 2485
Photo by Team FRC 5436
Photo by Team FTC 4347
Photo by Team FTC 9958