FIRSTĀ® Robotics Regional Competition Coming to the Rocket City in 2016

Wednesday March 09, 2016

The FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) for high school students will be held in Huntsville March 24-26. Rocket City Regional is a FIRST in Alabama event, and the first year Alabama has ever hosted a FRC. FIRST, which stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology," is a high-tech sporting event that brings together students, teachers, mentors, sponsors and family members as teams to compete for honors and recognition that reward design excellence, sportsmanship, teamwork and more. The three-day Rocket City Regional, the first FIRST event ever hosted in Alabama, is sponsored by Dynetics and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The event will be held at the Von Braun Center. 

Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, who introduced the IBOT Mobility System and the Segway® Human Transporter (HT), FIRST was created to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools and their communities. FRC anticipates more than 3,100 teams in the U.S. and 24 countries worldwide to compete in 53 regional events and 65 district events. More than 50 teams and 1,500-1,700  students from 11 states, including 12 Alabama teams, are expected to compete at the Rocket City Regional to earn a spot in the championship to be held April 27-30 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo.

Parker Owen, a successful young entrepreneur who founded Frapz Advertising, is just one FIRST alumnus who attributes much of his success to his participation. Owen, born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., said, "For the many problems in the world, FIRST is a solution that empowers and equips the next generation to do more and go farther than ever thought possible." Owen developed a ground-breaking approach to monetizing the empty physical space of everyday electronics with sleek vinyl advertising. He also developed a prosthetic "cycle-leg" from a bicycle for amputees in third-world countries. 

For the FIRST competition, students work with professional engineering mentors over a six-week timeframe to design a robot that solves a problem using a kit of parts and a standard set of rules. Once these young inventors create the robot, their teams participate in regional competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration and the determination of students.

"Dynetics is a huge supporter of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and FIRST has impressive statistics to show how it makes a difference," said Dynetics CEO David King. "For example, FIRST alumni are more than twice as likely to have a science or technology-related career after college and more than three times as likely to pursue a career in engineering. We're excited to be part of this Huntsville FIRST event, which encourages the best and brightest to pursue their interest in STEM areas."

This season, participating FIRST students are eligible to apply for more than $25 million in scholarships being made available by nearly 200 scholarship providers. 

For more information on FIRST, please view the following YouTube videos:

About FIRST® 

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 $25 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-3. 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

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