Six robots meet on the playing field, each vying to score as many goals as possible in two and a half minutes. But this is not an every-robot-for-itself competition. The six robots are divided into two teams – alliances – that work together for the win. Such teamwork reflects the culture of competition and cooperation of the students who built and control these machines.

Since 2004, Bloomberg has sponsored FIRST New York City, the organization responsible for this robot match. FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – provides programs that encourage and inspire students from elementary through high school to pursue studies in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This year our company supports students in two challenges – FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge – in which high school students build and program robots to perform a set of tasks against a field of competitors.

“As a technology company, our partnership with FIRST has been a win-win,” says Julisa Marmolejos of Global Engagement and Philanthropy. “They help develop essential skills for future leaders in STEM and provide rewarding employee engagement opportunities that drive innovation and address critical issues in STEM fields.” She adds: “It’s inspiring to see how our dedicated employees and the young adults develop thanks to the endless growth and learning opportunities that FIRST provides.”

In 2013, 30 Bloomberg employees mentored students on 12 teams. This year we’ve increased our participation; 46 employees are assisting 17 teams (more than 300 students), including one in London. Mentors provide guidance and support throughout the building season (January to March) to help students learn and apply new skills, including coding and engineering.

“FIRST encourages teamwork, leadership, and organization, and perfectly emulates the sorts of challenges I face in my career in computer science,” says R&D’s Benjamin Feldman. “Bloomberg makes it possible to connect with these students at a personal level, to show them how they can take their education to the next level in college and beyond.”

The New York City Regional Competition was held April 5 and 6 at the Jacob Javitz Center. Participants and spectators were shown a video that explains Bloomberg’s participation in the FIRST program. Watch to learn more about FIRST and see why Bloomberg mentors and students embrace this friendly competition.

Learn more about FIRST: http://www.usfirst.org/

Contributed by On Bloomberg, Bloomberg LP’s internal newswire.