We are Team 1719 “The Umbrella Corporation” based out of Park School of Baltimore, one of 2,300 teams that participate in the elite FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) high school division of FIRST. Each January, we meet on Build Season Kickoff Day to watch the announcement of that year’s challenge. From that point, our team has six weeks to custom design, prototype, build, program, and refine our robot to successfully compete at the Chesapeake and other regional competitions. Team members are guided by volunteer mentors who have backgrounds in engineering and computer sciences. It’s as close to “real-world” engineering as a student can get.

 

FIRST is a national organization, founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, the founder of DEKA Research and Development Corporation, an inventor and entrepreneur who holds over 440 patents, many in the health care arena, but perhaps most notably, the Segway® Human Transporter. In 2000, Kamen was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President William Clinton for his innovations in improving medical care worldwide and being a staunch advocate of promoting science and technology to students of all ages. The more than 350,000 students (K-12) who participate in over 32,000 teams in FIRST are supported by a network of 3,500 sponsors and 130,000 volunteers. FIRST is comprised of four divisions, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) which includes 2,850 teams (grades 9-12), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) which includes 3,000 teams (grades 7-12), FIRST LEGO League (FLL) made up of 2,300 teams (grades 4-8), and finally Junior FIRST LEGO League (Junior FLL) which has 3,800 teams (grades K-3). In 2013, FIRST awarded more than $18 million in scholarships to over 750 students.

 

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