Over the last two years, Comcast has been very fortunate to work with a terrific organization called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) that's committed to making science and technology cool for high school students. Through the Comcast Foundation, we've sponsored several high schools teams in this annual robotics competition, and many of the students also have worked as interns with our National Engineering and Technical Operations (NE&TO) teams in Philadelphia and Denver.
FIRST gives young people a first-hand look at the many exciting career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. For my team, it's an opportunity to share their passion for technology by mentoring the next generation of technologists.
This year, the Comcast Foundation and NE&TO provided funding and mentorships for a total of 12 FIRST robotics teams including:
C-STEP: Community Science & Tech Ed Project
Father Judge High School
Lansdale Catholic High School
Mount Saint Joseph's Academy
Owen J. Roberts High School
South Philadelphia High School
Boulder High School
Brighton High School
Conifer High School/Foothills Home School Team
Julesburg High School
Middle Park High School
Thomas Jefferson High School
While all of these teams competed and scored well in their respective regional competitions, we're particularly proud of The Firebirds team from Mount St. Josephs Academy in Flourtown, Pennsylvania.
The Firebirds are the second longest running, all-female high school robotics team in the United States. That's quite an accomplishment considering there are over 2,000 FIRST robotics teams across the country with just 25% female representation. Eighty percent of Firebird graduates go on to major in Engineering or Science disciplines in college. Firebird team members also actively promote the importance of engineering and science by participating in outreach programs with the Girl Scouts of America and in local elementary schools where they mentor junior robotics programs.
And there's more. This year, the Firebirds went to the 20th Annual FIRST Championship in St. Louis this year where they won the Regional Chairman's Award and made the Dean's List.
You can learn more about the great work FIRST does by tuning into a one-hour special — i.am FIRST — Science is Rock and Roll — that will air on Sunday, August 14 at 7 pm ET on the ABC Television Network. Hosted by The Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am and inventor/FIRST founder Dean Kamen, this back-to-school special features highlights from the 20th Annual FIRST Championship, as well as performances and appearances by an all-star list of celebrities and musicians.