FIRST definitely makes me feel empowered, not just as a student interested in building robots, but as a human being. ~Tania Najnin, FIRST Student
FIRST® is partnering with the Center for Youth and Communities at Brandeis University to conduct a multi-year longitudinal study assessing the long-term impact of participation in FIRST. The study, which started in 2011, is tracking 822 FIRST students and 451 comparison students. The comparison group included students who did not participate in FIRST but were enrolled in science and technology classes at the same schools.
New findings from the FIRST Longitudinal Study at 84 months continue to confirm that FIRST is making an impact on participating students. In fact, FIRST participants are about two times more likely to report gains in STEM identity, STEM interest and STEM career interest, STEM activity, and STEM knowledge than the comparison group. These impacts are significant for all participants, including girls and young women, historically underrepresented racial groups, and those from economically disadvantaged communities and rural and urban settings. FIRST alumni are significantly more likely to take engineering and computer science courses and declare engineering and computer science majors by their fourth year of college. For young women in FIRST, the impacts are most compelling, where 51% declare computer science and engineering majors by their fourth year in college, compared to 16% of their peers in the comparison group.
The longitudinal study is providing evidence that FIRST has lasting impacts for participating students, regardless of their background. We know we need to continue to develop strategies to reach more youth who may not have the opportunity to participate in FIRST. For the last five years, FIRST has invested in making equity, diversity, and inclusion a priority for the organization. Our goal is to ensure equity and inclusion are embedded in all FIRST programs, and a vital part of our strategic plan is to provide opportunities for all youth to engage in our programs. Check out our new ED&I Impact Flyer here to learn more about our approach, our key initiatives, and emerging outcomes.
FIRST has made such a large impact on my life that I don't know where or who I would be without it. I have been involved with FIRST for seven years, and the experiences that I have had have given me public speaking skills, confidence in my abilities, and life-long friendships. FIRST also has given me the opportunity to inspire others in STEAM fields. ~FIRST Alum
As a FIRST volunteer, your contribution to the mission of FIRST is significant. You are inspiring a generation of global citizens and helping them realize their power to build a better future.