Curiosity Meets with FIRST Founder Dean Kamen

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Team Curiosity 11770 was able to meet with Dean Kamen, the founder of FIRST and a world-renowned innovator, on April 15, 2024. The team received advice from him, such as to avoid shortcuts to success and instead work hard and never give up. He also advised the team to take reasonable risks even if they can be difficult and challenging, and to not let adults who don’t understand the field steer them astray.

A quote that stuck with the team from him was “The safest place for a ship is in a harbor, but it doesn’t do anything there!” Curiosity learned about Dean’s challenges establishing FIRST, such as people being closed-minded and categorizing it as just another science fair. Dean expressed how important it is for FIRST to be accessible to every high school student because it allows students to access more career opportunities. Dean believes innovation is the most important thing in the world, and the way to preserve innovation is creating an army of future innovators; the students in FIRST.

Additionally, the team learned how preserving people’s independence, access, and dignity led him to create DEKA inventions such as the iBot and an insulin pump. He also explained how to use technology as a tool, and that it is so important that you utilize this tool in a successful way to give more people access to STEM and help solve world problems with technology.

Team Curiosity would like to profusely thank Dean Kamen for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with them. “We learned so much from you and left the call feeling very inspired, and will definitely follow your advice and take your insights to heart. You are such an inspirational figure and role model, and we are so grateful for all of your innovations, especially FIRST!”