More than Robots:
First Inspires Students to Achieve and Lead
A study conducted by the Center for Youth
and Communities at Brandeis University and funded by the
Ford Foundation found that the FIRST Robotics Competition
had a number of positive impacts for participating students.
The study surveyed FIRST participants primarily from urban
and low income schools in New York City and the Detroit
area and compared them to a group of students with similar
backgrounds in high school math and science.
The study found that FIRST alumni are making a successful
transition to college, and are much more likely to pursue
their interests in science and technology. They are also
much more likely to become involved in their communities.
Among respondents, 89% went onto college, compared to a
national average of 65% (based on US Census data). The study
also found that FIRST participants were:
- Nearly twice as likely to major in science
or engineering than the comparison students (55% vs. 28%)
- More than three times as likely to major
specifically in engineering (41% vs. 13%) than the comparison
students, and they majored in engineering at roughly seven
times the average among US college students overall.
- Significantly more likely to aspire to
a post-graduate degree -- Master's or higher (77% vs.
- More than twice as likely to expect to
have a science or technology-related career after college
(45% vs. 20%)
- More than twice as likely to have participated
in some form of community service in the past year (71%
- Significantly more likely to think it was
important to "be a leader in their community"
(44% vs. 29%)
can obtain a copy of the report.