President Obama Makes Surprise Appearance on “i.am FIRST - Science is Rock and Roll”
MANCHESTER, N.H., August 16, 2011 — Emphasizing the importance of science education to spur innovation in the U.S., President Barack Obama rallied robotics fans around the country Sunday night when he kicked off “i.am.FIRST – Science is Rock and Roll” on The ABC Television Network.
“Here tonight we share a love of Science, Technology, Math and Engineering, and most importantly the spirit of invention. That’s the spirit that made America the most innovative country in the world,” said President Obama. “We need our young people to keep that spirit alive … we need to encourage our kids and invest in their education. We need to give them the chance to become the next generation of scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs. If they study hard in math and science, then their futures are going to be bright and so is America’s,” he continued.
The President’s message introduced “i.am FIRST,” an electric hour of highlights from the 2010-2011 FIRST® competition season and the 2011 FIRST Championship, where 30,000 students, fans, families, educators and industry leaders came together last April at the Edward Jones Dome, in St. Louis, to celebrate the engineering prowess of talented students from around the world.
The groundbreaking ABC back-to-school special was produced by will.i.am, frontman for The Black Eyed Peas. It featured live musical performances by The Black Eyed Peas and Willow Smith before an enthusiastic crowd of 30,000 robotics fans, and special appearances by such celebrities as Justin Bieber, Jack Black, Bono, Miranda Cosgrove, Miley Cyrus, Josh Duhamel, Willow Smith, Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake and Steven Tyler.
“I produced “i.am FIRST – Science is Rock and Roll” to make some noise about the country’s best and brightest students competing in the FIRST Championship,” said will.i.am. “Every kid deserves a good education and encouragement to find and follow their passion. Once kids find a topic that they are passionate about, it sparks their drive to dig in and learn the skills and information they need to be successful whether it is in music, arts, fashion or science and technology.”
“FIRST and I are so pleased and grateful to have the incredible support of will.i.am,” said Dean Kamen, president of DEKA and FIRST founder. “He’s the ‘real deal’ – he gets it and genuinely wants to help kids get to a better place in their lives and see our country once again become an engine for innovation. The FIRST community cannot thank him enough for shining a spotlight on our robotics programs.”
For more information, visit www.usfirst.org.
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.