Rockwell Automation Helps Bring FIRST Robotics Competition to Life!

Guest Blog by Jay Flores of Rockwell Automation

“Societies get the best of what they celebrate.”

Jay Flores blog 2.jpg

The FIRST time I heard Dr. Woodie Flowers, professor at MIT and one of the founders of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), say those words, I sat for a moment and let it sink in.

We celebrate fame and fortune. We celebrate sport. And we celebrate winning.

But what about a fun competition where you gain a valuable skill? Where a reward is employable skills and the experience that comes from building something from nothing?

Rockwell Automation and FIRST Are changing the game

I’ve always been in search of the best avenues to encourage excellence in STEM among youth on their terms — through platforms they feel most comfortable. STEM activities that are as exciting as they are educational are often hard to come by.

In my role as Rockwell Automation Global STEM Ambassador I was given the perfect opportunity to make this happen. I was invited to influence the next FIRST Robotics Competition. 

Participating with FIRST at this level has been a professional goal and a dream. My role brings together two innovators – FIRST and Rockwell Automation – to provide deep and broad value to students, mentors and coaches competing through FIRST now and in the future.

It’s an honor and a privilege!


As part of these efforts, I collaborate with product and technology developers from Rockwell Automation to ensure that our products and innovations are incorporated in game development.

We want students to be more connected to and comfortable with our products, and this is an ideal way to get them familiar with our capabilities. For the company, we have a front-row seat with the future workforce. Soon, these will be our world’s inventors, innovators and end users.

One of the greatest areas for opportunity is The Connected Enterprise, and how our products can take information from difference sources, make it usable, and let the team members make instantaneous decisions based on that data.

It’s the working world right there on the competition floor.

I believe we can take the experience for students, and the interaction with technology, to a much higher level. We will bring the best of two worlds together – technology and engagement – for the ultimate gaming and learning experience!

Take a look at how FIRST and Rockwell Automation work together to bring the 2018 FIRST Robotics Competition game - FIRST POWER UP to life!


If this inspires you… please see more from FIRST below and consider becoming a mentor to a team:


Be part of the more than 3,600 teams in 2018 comprised of 90,000 students and their adult mentors from around the world who will get to “play for real” in FIRST POWER UP!

FIRST Robotics Competition is the ultimate Sport for the Mind, where imagination and innovation come together! By combining the excitement of sport and beauty of art with the rigors of science and technology, teams of high school students (ages 14 - 18/grades 9 - 12) are challenged to design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform tasks against a field of competitors.

Teams work together to build, program and test robots with the guidance of adult mentors. Teams then compete with their robots as family and friends cheer from the stands at more than 160 events worldwide – all leading up to the 2018 FIRST Championship, April 18 - 21 in Houston, TX and April 25 - 28 in Detroit, MI.


Participating FIRST Robotics Competition students are eligible to apply for more than $50 million in scholarships from nearly 200 colleges and universities.

Learn more about all FIRST Programs! 


Meet the author: The power of STEM, Jay Flores advocates, can help young girls and boys become super heroes, solve big (and little) problems and contribute their best ideas to improve our planet. As a Global STEM Ambassador, Jay knows just how important STEM is to the future of the world. He’s spreading the word through his energizing presentations and outreach to schools, community groups and industry experts. Learn more by visiting