FIRST, Yale Alumni Group Announce Strategic Alliance

FIRST Yale Science and Engineering Association to Inspire Next Generation of Engineering and Automation Professionals

Pilot Program Inspires Yale Alumni to Lend Expertise to FIRST as Coaches, Mentors, Volunteers


MANCHESTER, N.H., December 5, 2011FIRST ® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, and the Yale Science & Engineering Association (YSEA) today announced a national Strategic Alliance and a U.S.-based pilot program to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in K-12 education. FIRST and Yale will mobilize resources to collaborate and promote K-12 after-school participation in the FIRST robotics progression of four robotics programs.

Currently, estimates indicate that jobs in U.S. high-tech manufacturing companies are going unfilled because companies can’t find people with the necessary skills. In addition, the failure to develop math and science skills has resulted in the U.S. falling behind other countries such as China and India.

"We want our culture to celebrate science and technology, and we want our society to be one where countless young people not only dream of being engineering, science and technology leaders; but also have the mentoring that can inspire and enable great achievement,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST Founder and President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation.

FIRST will assist the YSEA Alumni across the country with resources such as materials, guidelines for starting robotics teams, as well as marketing support. YSEA members and volunteers across the nation will assist FIRST regional, affiliate and operational partners and will provide volunteers, Mentors and Coaches for events in their geographic areas to collectively build local collaboration.

“Yale has been cultivating cutting-edge engineers for more than 150 years,” said T. Kyle Vanderlick, Dean of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science. “We are delighted that some of our most committed alumni will be working with one of the nation’s most creative engineering advocates to ensure a rich supply of bold, innovative problem-solvers for our society.”

Yale Alumni will work with regional FIRST leadership, partners and events on a state-by-state basis to encourage members of the YSEA community to engage with, volunteer for, as well as advocate and support FIRST programs. The goal of the pilot program will be to increase the number of young people and numbers of teams and volunteers actively participating in all robotics initiatives across all four programs at FIRST.

“This strategic alignment encourages our students to continue their successes in science and engineering technology," said Jon Dudas, FIRST President. "There is a tremendous fit between Yale and FIRST. FIRST students will benefit tremendously from the expertise offered by the Alumni in science and engineering from Yale. And, the resulting collective intelligence will no doubt play a key role in improving the longer-term standing of the U.S. in the sciences as the foundation for our innovation society.”

About YSEA

The Yale Science and Engineering Association (YSEA) connects Yale Alumni with students, the University, and each other to strengthen the Yale science and engineering community. Comprised of alumni working together to strengthen Yale's education of leaders for a world increasingly dominated by science and technology the Association works to: promote the highest quality of science and engineering at Yale in the students, faculty, facilities and courses of study; assists students financially with research grants, prizes and scholarships; recognizes and promotes the accomplishments of Yale students, faculty and distinguished alumni with special awards and prizes; communicates with its membership  to  encourage interaction between Yale and its engineering and science alumni and between Yale and private and public enterprise; and makes strategic investments to enable or complement Yale initiatives which advance science and engineering.

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 three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $15 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S. and Canada) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for 6 to 9-year-olds. 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 www.usfirst.org.

Media Contacts:

Cheryl Walsh, FIRST
Ph. 603-666-3906, X460
cwalsh@usfirst.org