AZFirst Receives Science Foundation Arizona Grant To Support FIRST® Robotics Competition In Arizona

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP), a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced that AZFirst, an Arizona 501(c)3 organization supporting FIRST ® ( For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) after-school programs in Arizona, is the recipient of a $260,000 grant funded over three years from Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz). FIRST connects high school students, educators, the community and industry in a collaborative effort to teach students STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) principles through a team-driven robot-building project that culminates in an exciting, fast-paced, robotics competition. In addition to providing funding to support the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) 2014 and 2015 Arizona Regional competitions, the grant will fund teacher stipends, travel, registration fees and supplies expenses for fifteen rural high school FRC teams in Arizona.

The schools involved include seven veteran FRC teams (Kingman High School; Casa Grande Union High School; Buena High School; Coconino High School; Superior High School; Yuma High School and Kofa High School). The rookie rural schools include Alchesay High School, Globe High School, San Carlos High School, Cibola High School, Coolidge High School, Round Valley High School, Tuba City High School and Tombstone High School. The funding will cover three years of support.

“SFAz is pleased to support AZFirst in its efforts to increase the number of robotic clubs in Arizona while providing students with high value STEM learning opportunities,” said Dr. Mary O’Reilly, SFAz program officer. Students who participate on a FIRST team are eligible to apply for more than $16 million in scholarship opportunities. The teams will compete in the FRC 2014 Arizona Regional, which will be held March 21-22, 2014 at Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona. The event is free and open to the public.

By working with industry mentors, students in the FIRST program learn engineering, physics, programming and science, in addition to other life skills such as critical thinking, public speaking, creativity and time management. Carol Popovich, Senior STEM Outreach Programs Representative with Microchip Technology Inc., is the Principal Investigator for the grant.

Steve Sanghi, President and CEO of Microchip Technology Inc., Co-Chair of the Arizona FIRST Planning Committee, and a member of the FIRST Board of Directors, said, “ FIRST isn’t about building robots—it’s about developing life skills. The kids learn skills about relationship building, teamwork, finance, fundraising and project management.”

In order to receive the grants, the teams must agree to mentor new robotics teams in rural Arizona, ensuring the growth of the program. “This multi-year grant from SFAz provides AZFirst an opportunity to expand our reach throughout Arizona by providing this hands-on robot building experience to more students. This is a huge benefit to STEM education and to the Arizona economy,” said Popovich.

For more information about AZFirst or FIRST in Arizona, contact Carol Popovich at (480)792-7938 or For more information about Science Foundation Arizona, contact The Lavidge Company 480.998.2600, Kendra Schmitt x562, or Teri Morris x577,


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About Microchip Technology

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Ariz., Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality. For more information, visit the Microchip website at

About Science Foundation Arizona

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization initiated in 2006 by the Greater Phoenix Leadership Inc., Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Flagstaff Forty. Its goal is to build and strengthen science, engineering and biomedicine in areas of greatest strategic value to Arizona's competitiveness in the global economy. SFAz is investing in partnerships between non-profit research institutions and industry, and in the education pipeline to attract and support a knowledge-driven economy.


Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST ( F or I nspiration and R ecognition of S cience and T echnology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering. To learn more about FIRST, go to

The FRC challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard “kit of parts” and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and enter them in a series of competitions designed by Dean Kamen, Dr. Woodie Flowers, and a committee of engineers and other professionals. Students participating on FIRST teams are eligible to apply for more than $17 million in scholarships.

Chandler-based Microchip Technology is the Organizing Sponsor and a “Leader in Technology Sponsor” of the FRC 2014 Arizona Regional.

Note: The Microchip name and logo are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. and other countries. FIRST is a registered trademark of FIRST in the U.S.A. and other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are property of their respective companies.

Tags / Keywords: Robot, Science Foundation Arizona, SFAz, FIRST, Dean Kamen, Technology, Science, Math

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