What is FIRST?
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) designs accessible, innovative programs that build not only science and technology skills and interests, but also self-confidence, leadership, and life skills.
FIRST and Gracious Professionalism
Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST Executive Advisory Board Vice Chairman and (Pappalardo) Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term "Gracious Professionalism."
Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It's a way of doing things that encourages high-quality
work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.
With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.
In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.