RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC As strategic alliance partners of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the International Society of Automation and its umbrella organization, the Automation Federation, took part in the FIRST Championship, an annual international celebration of young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.

More than 18,000 students from around the globe, from ages 6 to 18, gathered at the America’s Center Convention Complex and the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis to put their engineering skills and scientific know-how to the test in four different age-specific, team-oriented FIRST programs. This year’s championship event drew more than 900 student teams from 40 countries around the world.

A centerpiece of the four-day event was the FIRST Robotics Competition, which combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of designing and building robots. The competition provides students, from grades 9 through 12, with the opportunity to use sophisticated software and hardware, learn from professional engineers, collaborate, earn recognition, and qualify for millions of dollars in college scholarships. In all, more than 75,000 high school students, comprising more than 3,000 teams, participated in 56 FRC regional competitions.