Alumni - Tell me about scholarships (or lack thereof)

Thanks to everyone who participated in my polls recently.

Alumni, tell me about your experience getting, not getting, creating, or navigating FIRST scholarship opportunities.

I have one more series of questions for all you alumni (and anyone else with relevant experience).

  • Have you ever created (or tried to create) a scholarship (i.e. gone to an institution of any kind and asked for a scholarship which did not already exist)?

    • If so, what type of organization did you approach (school, non-profit org, for-profit company, etc.)?
    • Were you successful? What led to your success or lack thereof?
    • Why did you feel inspired to create the scholarship? Were there a lack of appropriate scholarships for your major? School? Needs?
    • Was the scholarship a one-time deal or did you create something that applies to others in the future?
  • Would you be willing to approach your school, a company, or non-profit organization and ask for a scholarship which is not already offered?

    • What tools or information would you like going in to a meeting like this?
    • What type of institution would you approach and why?
  • If you did something other than attended a four year university after graduating from FIRST (trade/technical school, two-year college, military service, straight to employment, etc.), were scholarship opportunities made available to you?

Essentially, if you have any anecdotes or information about scholarship availability, creating scholarships, or anything else relating to how FIRST assists alumni after graduation, please just answer below. If you have any information which you do not want to share with the public about your experience, please feel free to DM me and I will keep your information anonymous.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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So this goes back to things I’ve put in multiple posts and is likely beating a dead horse but here it is anyways. I have been involved with FIRST for roughly a decade and have always hoped the program would embrace fields like graphic design, marketing, journalism, and more in their scholarships. Many teams market that there is a place for students of every interest and skill set, yet upon graduation FIRST is little more than a resume builder to those not directly in STEM. I began my degree in Geology and still found only one scholarship opportunity for myself. Teams need public relations students, they need marketing teams and graphic designers to make their brand yet those skills are widely ignored. Don’t get me wrong, FIRST is a STEM program and shouldn’t lose that. I would love to create a scholarship for FIRST students focused on PR, Marketing, or the arts that have been contributing to teams but maybe don’t feel like first can contribute to them. My apologies for the rant.


I applied for roughly 10 different FIRST scholarships roughly 8 years ago and did not receive any of them.

I’ve never tried to create a scholarship, but it’s something I very well may consider in the future.

Along similar lines to @cmlee2164, it’s pretty disheartening how little support there is for students who wish to pursue a trade. Many of 103’s alumni have had wildly successful careers as machinists, electricians, auto mechanics, and other trades that have little to do with STEM directly. Our program for most of them turned into a passion for making or fixing things in a place where they would otherwise have no such outlet.

Yeah, the world needs more Scientists, technologists, and engineers, but without the skilled labor to support those professions the floor falls out pretty quickly. Everyone can’t be STEM professionals.

This is my plea to FIRST to promote non-college/university bound professions in this age of exorbitant higher education costs, and to show that skilled trades can be just as fulfilling, profitable, and in-demand, if not more so, than STEM pursuits.

At my previous and current jobs we were constantly looking for skilled machinists, welders, and generally handy people for more than reasonable and sustainable pay. There is a market for skilled trades, and it’s one that I think FIRST could funnel into extremely well given more support, including scholarships to trade schools and such.


I know of a few colleges (Depending on where you go) that will automatically give you a FIRST scholarship based solely on if you were on a team or not. They did not care what degree you were going for or how many years you were in FIRST.

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