Nine teams sponsored by Bechtel Corporation and mentored by employee volunteers are competing in the FIRST® Championship April 22-25, 2015, in St. Louis, Mo. FIRST® is a global nonprofit that runs four robotics programs for young people between the ages of 5 to 18. The programs offer real-world engineering experience and inspire students to pursue education and career paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Bechtel sponsored a total of 50 FIRST teams in 2015 from Australia, Chile, China, India, Malaysia, Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States; nine of which qualified for the world championship competition. Schools represented include: Kedron State High School, Brisbane, Australia; American School in London, UK; Wilson High School, Washington, DC; The Pink Team, Rockledge, Fla.; Hardin Valley Academy, Knoxville, Tenn.; Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Harmony Science Academy, Houston, Texas; Carnegie Vanguard & Lamar High Schools, Houston, Texas; and Oakton High School, Oakton, Va.
The Championship brings together 900 teams from around the world to compete for top honors in the FIRST® Robotics Competition, FIRST ®Tech Challenge, FIRST ®Lego League, and Junior FIRST ®Lego League programs. This year's event takes place in St. Louis at venues across the city including America’s Center, Edward Jones Dome, and St. Louis Union Station.
"Bechtel and our employees play an important role in developing the next generation of engineers, scientists and technologists in our country, and we know that those leaders will need strong math and science backgrounds to solve the complex problems we face," said Amos Avidan, the company’s senior vice president and manager of Engineering & Technology. "FIRST helps students get involved and excited about math and science," he added.
"I've spent years watching and helping students discover their love of STEM through FIRST’s robotics programs, and it's so gratifying to share my passion for engineering with them,” said Josh Long, Bechtel Sr. Control Systems technical specialist. “I see time and time again how, given just a little guidance, the students take complex concepts and run with them far beyond any expectations. I'm proud to be a judge at the FIRST championships and can't wait to see what the kids have in store for us this year."
Bechtel supports FIRST as part of the company’s initiative to foster STEM-related learning and improve the quality of life for people through the company’s engineering and construction skills. Bechtel is also partnered with DiscoverE, Engineers Without Borders, Junior Achievement®, and Ocean Exploration Trust.
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 $20 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3.