We run mentor-based robotics leagues and STEM programs across New York City. We make high-quality education accessible so all young people, especially girls and people of color, can become STEM leaders.
We give New York City’s youth the STEM education they need and deserve. We run mentor-based robotics and STEM education programs across the five boroughs that build character and confidence through the development of technology and engineering skills.
We envision a future where every young person has access to rigorous and inspiring STEM education and succeeds academically and in their career.
STEM education opens doors to fulfilling learning experiences and careers, but too many of New York City’s youth don’t have access to engaging science, technology, engineering and mathematics resources. Without meaningful opportunities to discover and apply STEM, they don’t pursue it in school or professionally.
- The world is increasingly relying on STEM leaders for equitable, sustainable and effective solutions to complex problems.
- STEM drives much of our economy—from artificial intelligence to mechanical engineering—and offers some of the most rewarding and high-paying careers.
- Many schools don’t have the resources to offer STEM education that both inspires students to pursue these fields in college and prepares them to meet benchmark qualifications.
- To enter and succeed in the STEM job market, young people need to build hard skills and soft skills, like working graciously as a team, leadership and interpersonal respect and empathy.
- Girls, people of color and students from low-income communities often aren’t made aware of the opportunities STEM offers and don’t have access to the support needed to pursue STEM careers. As a result, they are underrepresented in the sector.
What we do
We make STEM education rigorous, fun and accessible through mentor-based robotics leagues and high-quality programs and resources in STEM Centers open to all young people across the five boroughs.
- We immerse students in exciting STEM education from a young age into high school through LEGO leagues, tech challenges and robotics competitions.
- Through our growing network of STEM Centers, we give robotics teams and all young people the space to learn, create and work with expert teachers and advanced equipment.
- We offer workshops, summer programs and credit-bearing courses to students whose high schools often don’t have the capacity to provide high-quality STEM education.
- We connect students to career opportunities in STEM through our corporate partnerships and alumni network.
- We partner with institutions like the New York City Department of Education, Cornell Tech, and The New York, Brooklyn and Queens Public Libraries to expand access to high-quality STEM education to even more of New York City’s young people.
How we do it
We combine the energy and teamwork of tournament competition with formal learning and advanced technology resources. Our expert teachers and adult mentors encourage young people to build on their strengths and challenge them to push the envelope of what’s possible.
- Our work builds on the FIRST model, which sparks students’ interests in STEM through mentor-based robotics competitions while they build self-confidence and life skills.
- Young people compete from an early age into their high school years, making for sustained experiences in STEM that continue into college and their careers.
- Families come together during robotics competitions to support their child’s team. Teams compete in challenges against the clock—there’s lots of cheering and chanting.
- Most of our teams are guided by mentors and all have equal access to the equipment and resources they need to compete.
- Young people help each other and collaborate across boroughs. Working together graciously and sharing knowledge are cornerstones of our STEM education.
We provide the spark that leads to a lifetime love of STEM. Every student who walks through our doors is instilled with the building blocks of confidence and character necessary to succeed in any field and career they choose.
- NYC FIRST students across gender, race, and income are three times more likely to be interested in STEM activities, careers, identity, and knowledge.
- Schools across New York City that have embraced our model and participate in our programs thrive. Some schools have even earned “magnet” status.
- NYC FIRST alumni are currently enrolled at top engineering schools, such as MIT, Olin College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
- Our students have a leg up on the competition in the job market, often landing internships and positions at leading companies—Google, Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs.
Why we need you
All young New Yorkers deserve access to inspiring STEM education and the opportunities that come with it. Mentors, volunteers and supporters like you drive the work we do every day to create a future where STEM leaders reflect the diversity—and excellence—of our city.
- Donate to NYC FIRST. Your gift will directly fund programs that make fun and rigorous STEM education accessible to young New Yorkers.
- Become a volunteer. Your time, energy and creativity bring NYC FIRST programs to life—and make everything we do possible.
- Start a team. Change your students’ lives and inspire the next generation of STEM leaders by joining our robotics competition community.
- Mentor a team. Are you a STEM professional? People like you mentor our robotics teams, guiding young people on the path to learn, grow and succeed.
Partner with NYC FIRST. Let’s talk about opportunities to bring engaging STEM education to your institution.