Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in STEM Education


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Louis S. Nadelson, Ph.D.


The annual robotics competition that is held by the non-profit organization For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (better known as FIRST) implicitly requires that the multifaceted teams subdivide in order to ensure that sufficient team resources are committed to all areas of the competition. The self-stated goal of FIRST is to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This study examines the relationship between FIRST participants’ specific roles on their teams and their subsequent academic and career pursuits. Study participants (N = 174) consisting of FIRST Robotics Competition alumni responded to an online survey that asked both Likert-type scale and open-ended questions. Chi-square analysis of the survey results showed statistically significant relationships between participants’ majors and their involvement in robot design (p < .005), robot build (p < .003), and activity documentation (p < .022). Chi-square analysis also showed statistically significant relationships between participants who were currently working in a STEM field and their participation in robot build (p < .002), award documentation (p < .026), and community outreach (p < .040). Analysis also compared participants’ gender to involvement in particular team roles, and showed some statistically significant results. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed, and include refining the team structure as well as recruiting more female mentors.