who we are.

The Dean’s List Story

The award was created during the 2010 FRC season by the Kamen family in recognition of Jack and Evelyn Kamen; parents of FIRST founder Dean Kamen.  Jack, who passed away in August of 2008 at the age of 88, and his wife Evelyn have been fixtures at many FIRST events.  Their humor, along with a positive and supportive attitude, truly symbolizes the FIRST culture.  In fact, Jack is the designer of the playful red, white and blue geometric shapes that create the FIRST logo which wonderfully balances the technical and emotional sides of what FIRST is all about.  Dean’s mother, Evelyn, is a tireless caretaker for her family and is an exceptional teacher, principal and tremendous FIRST supporter.  She lends her experience as a leader of schools to chair the judge panel that selects the FIRST Dean’s List Award winners which includes Debra Cain, mother of singer/entertainer Will.I.Am, Vince Wilczynksi, Deputy Dean for the School of Engineering at Yale University and Ceci Neumann, a local CT attorney.

Dean’s parents always encouraged his passion for innovation and his gift for motivating leaders throughout the world to support the FIRST mission.  It is the family’s hope that this award will encourage the passion in all FIRST students to promote the FIRST mission both as a student on an FRC team and for years to come as members of the FIRST student alumni body.

The students who earn FIRST Dean’s List Award status will not only be great examples of student leaders who have led their teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission but they will continue on, post-award, as great leaders of FIRST’s ever growing student  alumni.  This award joins the ranks of prestigious awards like the FIRST Founder’s award which honors sponsors or other supporters who help to grow FIRST; the Woodie Flowers Award, which honors outstanding mentors at FIRST; and the Chairman’s Award, which honors the team to have best achieved the mission of FIRST.  It is the hope that the FIRST Dean’s List will, in time, garner national recognition, similar to the National Merit Scholarship Program, which could increase the competitiveness of college, scholarship, internship and employment opportunities for the recipients.


The FIRST Robotics Competition is an exciting, multinational competition that teams professionals and young people to solve an engineering design problem in an intense and competitive way. The program is a life-changing, career-molding experience—and a lot of fun. Over 42,000 high-school-aged young people on over 1,686 teams participate in 41 regional events. Teams come from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Turkey, the U.K. and every U.S. state. The competitions are high-tech spectator sporting events, the result of lots of focused brainstorming, real-world teamwork, dedicated mentoring, project timelines, and deadlines.

Colleges, universities, corporations, businesses, and individuals provide scholarships to FIRST participants. Involved engineers experience again many of the reasons they chose engineering as a profession, and the companies they work for contribute to the community while they prepare and create their future workforce. The competition shows students that the technological fields hold many opportunities and that the basic concepts of science, math, engineering, and invention are exciting and interesting.


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