The vision and mission of FIRST Robotics are to help create a world where science and technology are celebrated, and young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders. Today’s world is in desperate need of scientists and engineers, and FIRST is trying to help. FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – strives to inspire young people to take on these roles.
In the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) – often called “The Varsity Sport for the Mind” or “The Superbowl of Smarts” – you don’t always see all-male teams out on the playing field while the girls cheer from the sidelines. No, by the field you’ll also find boys waving pom-poms and colorful team flags, just as behind the driver station glass you’ll find girls with their hair pulled back, hands on the joysticks, safety goggles donned. If you look in the pits of a competition venue, everyone is working frantically around their robots, sleeves rolled up and grease on their arms. You’ll find boys and girls side-by-side, hooking up electronics, tightening chains, switching out wheels, plugging in pneumatics, testing software. FIRST ladies are everywhere, and they know what they’re doing.
To emphasize and expand the engineering opportunities FIRST offers for young women around the world, FRC Team 1540 hosts Girls’ Generation. Local girls gain the engineering spotlight by taking over all technical roles on their teams for an exciting day of scrimmaging. Last year over 130 girls from 22 FRC teams participated.
During Girls Generation, the girls are the drive team, pit crew, and all the other roles on the team. Through it, girls, who are traditionally less likely to go into STEM fields, gain an enthusiasm that lasts throughout the season and beyond. Team 3812, among other teams, noticed a huge change in the enthusiasm of their girls after Girls Generation. This enthusiasm often helps girls stay in robotics and eventually go into STEM fields.