FIRST Establishes Endowed Scholarship Fund to Honor the Memory of Long-Time Volunteer Dr. Bart Kamen
New, Transportable Scholarships for Students Pursuing Degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Pre-Med
FIRST announced the establishment of The Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial FIRST Scholarship Fund. The fund honors Dr. Bart Kamen, the long-time FIRST volunteer judge and late brother of Dean Kamen. The scholarship is designed to encourage undergraduate students pursuing biomedical engineering and/or pre-med degrees.
The memorial fund was founded by a collaborative donation among Dr. Kamen’s friends, family, and fellow FIRST community members. Initially, the fund, which totals over $2 million, will annually award renewable grants of $10,000 each to three students—who have already demonstrated innovation, respect for science and engineering, and compassion—to pursue the undergraduate study of biomedical engineering and/or pre-medical studies. The grants, renewable for up to three additional years, will be used to help successful applicants attend the colleges of their choice.
“By selecting students who have successfully participated in one of the four K-12 FIRST progression of robotics programs, the Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial FIRST Scholarship Fund wishes to encourage students who have already excelled to honor the legacy of Dr. Kamen, whose brilliance, compassion, and passion improved the lives of countless patients,” said Bob Tuttle, Interim President, FIRST.
Dr. Bart Aron Kamen was a distinguished pediatric oncologist, cancer pharmacologist, and devoted family man. He was also a long-tenured and passionate FIRST supporter. Dr. Kamen was known by his colleagues as a brilliant scholar, compassionate physician, dedicated mentor, and gentle man with unfettered enthusiasm for learning, teaching, talking science, and challenging the mainstream with his out-of-the-box thinking for the betterment of patient care.
A prominent researcher as well as a caring doctor, Dr. Kamen authored more than 300 manuscripts and was the editor-in-chief of The Journal of Pediatric Hematology Oncology.
Dr. Kamen received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University and served his internship/residency and fellowship in pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology and pharmacology at Yale University.
“Our FIRST scholarship recipients are outstanding contributors to the colleges and universities they attend, and the corporations where they intern, and they have a wonderful track record at their employers,” noted Walt Havenstein, chairman, FIRST Board of Directors. “As FIRSTAlums, they carry the message that the pursuit of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) foundation is paramount to the country’s workforce development, as well as their own long-term career.”
The total number of scholarship dollars available to college-bound FIRST participants has grown to over $16 million with the addition of the new fund. Eleven (11) new college/university/corporate providers joined the FIRST scholarship program in 2012.
A total of 158 colleges, universities, corporations, associations, and funds support the FIRST mission by generously donating merit-based scholarship opportunities to eligible students who want to take their FIRST experience to the next level. Last year, nearly one in three applicants was offered a FIRST scholarship, and 25% of the recipients were female.
Any FIRST participant in the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®), FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®), or FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) who has completed a minimum of one year in a FIRST program is eligible to apply for the Dr. Bart Kamen FIRST Scholarship Fund. (The 2013 deadline for applications was February 13, 2013.)
Internships at Autodesk Lead to Collaboration Tool for Teams
Over the summer of 2012, eight high school student interns from different FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams in Oregon worked together at Autodesk. The group took 10% of their time to create Built by Design (BXD), a tool for FRC teams, designed to eliminate the common problem of having only one to two CAD designers on a team. The goal of BXD is to lessen the learning curve of CAD and give teams an alternative workflow for the brainstorming process. Ideally, teams will be able to fully design their robot within the first week of build session.
To implement this program, the interns created an easy-to-use website that is available to new users and veteran users alike. Feature include
- Users can view 15 short tutorials covering the entire design process: brainstorming, digital prototyping with Fusion, and detailed CAD using Inventor.
- Users can share, download, and review designs.
- Users can easily download Autodesk Inventor and Fusion.
- Users can accelerate designs with the new 2012 FRC CAD library.
Dean Kamen Encourages More Than 25,000 Students Around the World to RING IT UP!SM for the 2012-2013 FIRST® Tech Challenge Game
FIRST Tech Challenge is a widely accessible robotics program for grades 7 through 12 that promotes project-based learning. Using a proven formula that engages student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), FTC is one of the fastest-growing programs of its kind in the world. FTC is highly scalable and easily integrates into the classroom with measurable results. FIRST teams learn to engage business, engineering, and science professionals, and working together, become a focal point of the communities in which they live.
Using a combination of motors, controllers, wireless communications, metal gears, and sensors, including infrared tracking (IR) and magnet seeking, about 25,000 students will program their robots to operate in both autonomous and driver-controlled modes on a field with a center rack. The object of the game is to score more points than an opponent by placing plastic rings onto pegs on a center rack. Teams will be challenged to detect special “weighted” rings to earn bonus points. RING IT UP!SM matches will last two minutes and 30 seconds, beginning with a 30-second autonomous period followed by a two-minute driver-controlled period. The final 30 seconds of the driver-controlled period is the “end game,” where each team can score bonus points by lifting up their partner’s robot off the game floor to a maximum height of 24 inches.
“FIRST Tech Challenge empowers students to think like engineers and scientists,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder and president of DEKA Research & Development Corp. “There is no doubt in my mind that FTC students will solve society’s greatest challenges by employing the same disciplines and critical thinking that they’re bringing to this year’s FTC game, RING IT UP!SM”
“Hands-on, project-based learning has been the hallmark of FTC from its inception,” said Ken Johnson, acting chief program officer and director, FIRST Tech Challenge. “The universal growth and acceptance of FTC can be tied to its continuing leadership and success in STEM-based education.”
During the 2012-2013 FTC season, an estimated 2,500 FIRST Tech Challenge teams will compete in events in the U.S., Australia, China, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and—new this year—Spain and Germany. The RING IT UP!SM season qualifying and championship events will culminate with the FIRST championship, April 24-27, 2013, at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo. The 2012-2013 FIRST Tech Challenge sponsors include Rockwell Collins (official program sponsor for the FIRST Tech Challenge) and PTC® (FTC CAD and Collaboration sponsor).
Iowa Includes FIRST® in Groundbreaking Legislation to Promote Student STEM Learning
Iowa Gov. Terry E. Brandstad will be joined by leaders of Iowa’s higher education and FIRST® to launch a groundbreaking program that sets aside $4.7 million for schools and community groups in the state to engage students in hands-on programs that promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
The state of Iowa has committed $4.7 million to growing 12 exemplary STEM educational programs based on their proven ability to stimulate interest and impact students’ achievement in STEM-related topics. FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) and FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®), both FIRST programs, are two of these 12 hands-on programs selected by the Governor’s STEM advisory council, distributed via six STEM regions, assuring access to all Iowa students for little or no cost to the school or after-school programming organization. The Governor’s STEM advisory council is a public-private partnership whose overarching goal is creating greater student achievement in STEM subjects and a stronger STEM workforce in Iowa.
“Iowa is leading the country in fully enabling STEM education,” said Dean Kamen of FIRST. “The proven formula of utilizing hands-on learning programs to spark math and science education in the classroom places Iowa squarely in the position of being a leader and a model for the entire nation.”
According to Change the Equation’s STEM Vital Signs, jobs in STEM are expected to grow by 16% this decade in Iowa (57,830 jobs in 2008 to 67,330 by 2018). Currently, there are 42 other states considering similar STEM legislation.
“It is critical to provide Iowa’s students with a world-class education, which means emphasizing the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. “As co-chair of the Governor’s STEM advisory council, it’s about growing jobs, closing the achievement gap, and inspiring students to embrace STEM fields to that they can take charge of their future.”
To learn more, visit www.usfirst.org.