United States - Flag United States

Please confirm your currency selection:

Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Empowering Young Innovators Mouser Staff

How FIRST® and Mouser Champion STEM Education

From classrooms to extracurricular activities, from community projects to national initiatives, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is reshaping the way we approach challenges and envision solutions. STEM programs inspire curiosity and cultivate the skills necessary to tackle the technological challenges of tomorrow. The significance of STEM cannot be overstated. These initiatives serve as the bedrock for nurturing the next generation of thinkers, problem-solvers, and innovators who will propel us into the future.

Initiatives like the FIRST® Robotics Competition are important in preparing youths for academic and career paths full of innovation. At the beginning of the 21st century, the National Science Foundation (NSF) noticed that US students were trailing in these areas and developed STEM educational programs to emphasize analytical thinking and problem solving. This sparked an educational shift. Hands-on programs like FIRST, emphasizing teamwork and practical application, were influential in this change. As STEM evolved, so did the focus on inclusivity, striving to leverage diverse talents, all while pushing beyond traditional learning to ignite passion for these fields.

The FIRST Effect

Founding a transformational organization is one thing but proving that it's transforming the industry is another. FIRST collaborates with Brandeis University to produce compelling insights into the transformative power of these competitions on young minds. Through a rigorous longitudinal study measuring the impact of FIRST programs on students' engagement and trajectories in STEM fields, their findings are unequivocal: Participation in FIRST markedly increases the likelihood of students pursuing STEM majors and careers by up to 81 percent, confirming the program's critical role in shaping the future STEM workforce.[1]

Their study also highlights a significant effect on female participants in FIRST programs, who are 2.5 to 3.5 times more likely to major in STEM disciplines, particularly engineering and computer science. This emphasizes the effectiveness of FIRST in addressing gender disparities in STEM, offering a supportive and inspiring environment that encourages young women to explore and commit to STEM careers.

Beyond academic and career choices, FIRST participants exhibit progress in essential workforce skills. The hands-on, team-based approach of FIRST competitions cultivates advanced levels of teamwork, communication, and problem-solving abilities. These skills are not only vital for success in STEM fields but are highly valued across different sectors, ensuring that FIRST alumni are well-equipped for the challenges of the modern workplace.

Nurturing Future Innovators

Once again, Mouser Electronics announced its ongoing sponsorship of the FIRST Robotics Competition, a global event inspiring young minds toward innovation and the power of engineering. As the registration sponsor for the 2024 FIRST Championships in Houston, Texas, Mouser reinforces its commitment to the education and empowerment of future engineers.

The Championships will highlight Mouser's support through their participation in the Innovation Faire, featuring the Mouser-sponsored Team HUGE. This team, known for its heavyweight 250-pound robot that competes in the BattleBots competition, is a true example of engineering creativity and innovation that Mouser aims to promote. Beyond global events, Mouser extends its support locally, offering grants to high school teams across Tarrant County, Texas, and co-sponsoring the FIRST in Texas UIL State Championship.

This decade-long partnership with FIRST aligns with the goal of enhancing STEM education through practical robotics programs that teach collaborative problem solving.

By blending sports' excitement with science and technology challenges, the FIRST Robotics Competition encourages a competitive spirit and an appreciation for STEM (Figure 1). Mouser's ongoing support of such educational initiatives encourages more students to explore STEM fields and paves the way for the next generation of innovators.

Figure 1: The FIRST Robotics Competition introduces aspiring engineers to the excitement of working in STEM fields. (Source: Mouser Electronics)

A Call to Action

FIRST and companies like Mouser working together reveals just how impactful it can be to form connections focused on STEM. These initiatives foster hands-on learning and promote access to educational and career opportunities that are essential to future discoveries. It's a call to educators, industry professionals, and communities to join forces to support the next generation of innovators and thinkers.

Their partnership isn’t just a sponsorship; it's a shared mission to spark curiosity and invention in young minds by giving them the tools and knowledge to generate tomorrow's advancements. This effort supports a diverse, prepared workforce ready to tackle new and emerging challenges.

The industry finds itself at a crucial turning point, and the call to action is clear: Support STEM initiatives, engage in the movement, and contribute to a future where every student can realize their potential in shaping the world.



[1] “Research shows FIRST® drives STEM engagement and outcomes.” https://www.firstinspires.org/sites/default/files/uploads/resource_library/impact/stem-boosting-engagement.pdf.

« Back

Mouser Electronics – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. – is one of the industry's fastest growing global catalog and online semiconductor and electronic component distributors. Mouser is a company dedicated to supplying design engineers and buyers with the newest products and leading-edge technologies combined with unsurpassed customer service and worldwide support. With a keen focus on design engineers and buyers demanding the latest products, Mouser is redefining customer-focused distribution.

All Authors

Show More Show More
View Blogs by Date