FIRST is a national high school robotics competition founded by Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway. Its purpose is to unite high schools with engineering industries directly in an effort to celebrate science and technology by extending its reach to the creativity of high school students.
Each year, teams made up primarily of high school students and partially of adult engineering mentors work frantically to design and build a large (~130 pounds and 30"x36"x60") partially remote-controlled and partially autonomous robot in the time span of 6.5 weeks. After these 6.5 weeks, the robot is shipped to its first competition where it will compete in rough competition with other robots from all over the world.
In 1996, engineering students from The Ohio State University joined together to start a FIRST robotics team with Grandview Heights High School and continued the effort there until the year 2000 when OSU left Grandview Heights to start a new team with the Columbus School for Girls. In the year 2002, OSU continued to work with CSG, but also started a team in the Dublin City School district including both Dublin Coffman High School and Dublin Scioto High School. In 2003, OSU began working with a group of homeschooled students from Columbus and the surrounding area.
FIRST Robotics at OSU (FROS) has always attempted to build robots that will win competitions, but the focus has always been on educating students in engineering. For example, team 1014 (Dublin City Schools) received the 2004 Pittsburgh Regional's Engineering Inspiration Award, largely due to the real-world engineering practices used on the robot and the students' knowledge of these practices. Team 1014 then received the Chairman's Award, FIRST's highest honor, at the same regional the next year, based on the level of involvement of the students in the design and construction of the robot and the organization of the team.
In addition to the above awards,FROS has also received the 2004 Buckeye Regional's Rookie Inspiration Award (through team 1317, the Homeschool Community Team) and the 2003 Pittsburgh Regional's Rookie All-Star Award (through team 1014). These awards signify that their respective teams were well on the track to establish a team organizational structure and level of mentor-student interaction that would lead them to be worthy of future Engineering Inspiration and Chairman's Awards.
While the bulk of what FROS does relate to mentoring high school students during our build season, that is certainly not all that we do—we consider ourselves a multi-level university educational outreach program. In the off-season, FROS members mentor FIRST Lego League teams, and many of our high school students mentor teams independently of us (it's one thing for students to learn about engineering when they have us to fall back on, but it's another thing when it's just them). In addition, both mentors and students regularly showcase our robots to our respective communities.
Here is the official mentor leadership for the 2015 season.