The Age of Robots Is Here, and Students Couldn’t Be Happier

Dean Kamen speaks at a FIRST Robotics competition in Midland, Michigan, to announce Dow’s agreement to be a FIRST Strategic Partner. Kamen, founder of the FIRST organization, appeared at the event in March with Dow USA President Deborah Borg and Rich Wells, Michigan Operations Site Director.

FIRST Robotics is booming around the world, with growing support from Dow helping to boost the impact it has on students.

FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – is a nonprofit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1992 as a “Sport of the Mind.” It started with 22 teams in a New Hampshire high school gym and has grown to encompass four divisions with more than 400,000 students on almost 40,000 teams around the world.

The most prestigious of the divisions, FIRST Robotics, pits student-built robots in head-to-head competitions that play out in packed gymnasiums to a soundtrack of pounding music and roaring applause. Kamen himself appeared at such an event this spring in Midland, Michigan, to announce Dow’s expanded role as a FIRST Strategic Partner. This includes a special commitment to supporting new teams in communities where Dow has a presence.

The robot built by FIRST Robotics Team 2619 competes at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Missouri.

“Dow has generously provided support to FIRST since 2000, and they have been instrumental in helping us grow FIRST programs,” Kamen said. “In addition to their financial commitment, Dow employees have also been generous with their time and knowledge by mentoring teams and volunteering at events. We are pleased to recognize Dow as a FIRST Strategic Partner, and are thankful for their continued, multidimensional support.”

Dow-supported teams from Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Canada were among roughly 600 top performers who qualified for this year’s FIRST World Championships from April 22 to 25 in St. Louis, Missouri.

“Dow has survived and thrived for more than a century because of the strength of our innovation engine, built on a foundation of STEM talent,” said Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris. “Investing in the education of our youth means investing in our shared future and the future of our Company. There is no better way to inspire children to pursue careers in STEM than through the hands-on, project-based learning experiences that FIRST provides.”

FIRST Robotics Team 2619 from Midland, Michigan, sponsored by Dow, poses together at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Missouri.