FedEx Recognizes Young Innovators at FIRST® Championship


Innovation Challenge Awards More than $50,000 in Grants

ST. LOUIS, April 28, 2015 —Dozens of middle and high school students competing in the international FIRST Championship in St. Louis are walking away from the second annual FedEx Innovation Challenge with more than $50,000 in grant money to fund their teams for the next year.

The FedEx Innovation Challenge is a social media-based competition consisting of math and science problems and scavenger hunt activities, FedEx innovation trivia and more. Since January 2015, over 200 student teams around the world have creatively showcased their innovative thinking in the second annual competition to win prizes including:

  • A total of $52,500 in grant funding for both FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams
  • VIP access at the national FIRST competition in St. Louis
  • Travel to FIRST HQ in Manchester, NH, to pitch a concept for a future game design
  • Product prizes, such as: an iPad Mini, RoboRIO controller and more

Here’s a preview of some of the creative student team videos included in the Challenge.

Winners of the 2015 grant funding, announced Saturday, April 25, in St. Louis at the global FIRST Championships, are:

  • FRC Winners

    • First Place, $15,000: The Beak Squad, team 4028, from Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Second Place, $10,000: Ultime, team 5528, from Quebec, Canada
    • Third Place, $5,000: Robomos, team 3602, from Escanaba, Michigan
  • FTC Winners

    • First Place, $10,000: 2 Bits and a Byte, team 4029, from Lexington, Massachusett
    • Second Place, $7,500: Vertigo, team 7953, from Charlottesville, Virginia
    • Third Place, $5,000: Tuxedo Pandas, team 4924, from Christiansburg, Virgin

The grants will be administered by FIRST and are available for use in future FIRST initiatives.

“By engaging tomorrow’s innovators through creative STEM education programs like FIRST, FedEx is building a generation with the vision and critical skills to drive business, research and the non-profit sectors into the future,” said Virginia Albanese, president and CEO, FedEx Custom Critical. “The competition for innovation to drive growth is very real in both the private and public sectors. We’re proud to be supporting a program that helps position the students of today for success tomorrow through practical, skills-based experiences.”

FedEx is a long-standing and proud supporter of FIRST. Beginning in 2002, FedEx has shipped an estimated 12 million pounds of starter kits and completed robots to and from FIRST competitions, valued at over $1 million in retail shipping costs annually.

In addition to facilitating the Innovation Challenge and providing in-kind shipping, FedEx continues its sponsorship of the FIRST Robotics Rookie Grant Program. FedEx began sponsoring 187 new teams in 2014 for a three-year period, supporting their progress in competition with personalized sponsorship and mentoring opportunities to learn from professionals already working in their areas of interest.

About FIRST®

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $19 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition> (FRC®) for students in Grades 9-12;FIRST® Tech Challengea> (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; Junior FIRST® LEGO® Leagueue (Jr.FLL®) for GradesGracious Professionalismsm® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, www.usfirst.orgrg.