With the goal of helping to grow the number of pre-eminent engineers and students, BAE Systems will also fund FRC team grants and college scholarships for FIRST students attending select universities across the United States.
“FIRST is an amazing, inspiring organization that makes math and science fun for kids through teamwork and friendly competition,” said Walt Havenstein, president and Chief Executive Officer of BAE Systems, Inc., who is also a FIRST board member. “Our donation is an investment in the future high-tech workforce BAE Systems and America will need in the 21st century.”
BAE Systems has supported FIRST and the FRC since the early 1990s, shortly after the not-for-profit organization was founded by inventor Dean Kamen to foster competition by high school students and their team-assembled robots. Since then, more than a dozen former FIRST participants have been hired by BAE Systems, and many more have interned in the company’s labs and offices.
“BAE Systems has been, and continues to be, a tremendously generous supporter of FIRST and the FIRST Robotics Competition,” said FIRST founder Dean Kamen. “As a Strategic Partner, BAE Systems greatly helps us to achieve our vision: ‘to create a world where science and technology are celebrated…where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes…’.”
“The affinity between BAE Systems and FIRST is due to our shared culture and goals,” Havenstein added. “Both organizations have a passion for science, engineering and technology combined with the social skills of cooperation, teamwork, and leadership.”
During the 2008 season, which runs from January through April, students build robots to compete and co-operate in three-team alliances at Regional events and the FIRST Championship. In this year’s game, “FIRST Overdrive,” robots are designed to race around an oval track, move large balls around the track, and pass the balls over or under a 6’6” overpass. Robots may be programmed for autonomous movement and operated by radio control.
Of the more than 1,300 FRC teams participating in the 2008 season nationwide, BAE Systems will directly support up to 60 teams located near BAE Systems sites in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The company will also sponsor seven of the 41 FRC regional events as well as the FIRST Championship, which will be held April 17-19, 2008, in Atlanta.
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, NH, 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 the support of many of the world’s most well-known companies and scientific societies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and the FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, FIRST LEGO League for children 9-to-14 years old, and Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6-to-9 year-olds. For more information, visit http://www.usfirst.org.
About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defense and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 96,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems’ sales exceeded $27 billion in 2006*.
*On a pro forma basis, assuming BAE Systems had owned Armor Holdings Inc for the whole of 2006
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