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The Culinary Institute of America and FIRST® Collaborate on Advancing Science Education

HYDE PARK, N.Y. and MANCHESTER, N.H., March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the world's premier culinary college, and FIRST®, a not-for-profit founded by inventor Dean Kamen that since 1989 has hosted a leading robotics competition for children and young adults, today announced a strategic collaboration to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in education.  The CIA has 3,000 students enrolled in its gold-standard degree programs and an extensive network of 46,000 alumni that are leaders in the culinary world, and FIRST® robotics competitions have included participation from over 350,000 students, 130,000 volunteers, and more than 3,500 sponsors, resulting in approximately 28,800 innovative robots designed by pre-collegiate youth.

At the beginning of the year, FIRST® Founder Dean Kamen testified before Congress on the need to close the innovation deficit by making hands-on learning programs in STEM accessible to all students across the country, particularly those in underserved and rural communities, many of which are heavily dependent on agriculture.  To support those goals, the purpose of the FIRST®-CIA collaboration is to inspire young people to be leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills; that inspire innovation; and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

"At first glance, the connection between STEM education and the culinary arts may seem remote," commented Dr. Don Bossi, President of FIRST®.  "I was delighted to discover not only that FIRST® and the CIA have similar missions and values but also that chefs throughout the U.S. have already been supporters of our youth robotics teams for years through their donations or hosting of fundraisers at their restaurants.  We are excited to explore our synergies in cultivating young people's passion for STEM through a new dimension of food, flavor, and culinary discovery."

"Chefs, as artists, entrepreneurs and community advocates, are often early adopters of technology and well-positioned to help humanize the potential of robotics in everyday life," said Dr. Tim Ryan, President of The Culinary Institute of America and newly elected member of the Board of Directors of the National Restaurant Association.  "I look forward to deepening the CIA's alliance with FIRST® because whether it is recipes or schematics, ingredients or components, both organizations are committed to developing leaders that recognize the importance of teamwork through the ideal of "Gracious Professionalism" and community service."

Dr. Ryan added, "The CIA is committed to elevating the culinary arts by increasing student understanding of science and technology as well as student access to STEM resources, such as through our Bachelor's Degree Program in Culinary Science. In addition, we are dedicated to increasing food-and-science thought leadership through such initiatives as Menus of Change (in partnership with Harvard School of Public Health), Re-Think Food (in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also a FIRST® partner), and the Health Flavors Research Initiative as well as Flavor, Quality, and American Menus (in partnership with the University of California-Davis).  We look forward to being at the FIRST® Championship in St. Louis, MO from April 23 to 26, 2014 and much more beyond that!"

About FIRST®  

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) 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. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $19 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST®, please visit http://www.usfirst.org.

About Culinary Institute of America

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of professional excellence & innovation, health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research, conferences and other initiatives.

The college's new Culinary Science Lab includes a professional kitchen with precision temperature cooking equipment and other cutting-edge cooking tools; analytical lab with centrifuge, rotary evaporator, vacuum desiccator, incubator, and more used to conduct scientific experiments; sensory evaluation room; and lecture hall. Students use this state-of-the-art facility in courses that involve the application of new technologies, biology, physics, chemistry, sensory evaluation techniques, food microbiology and fermentation, and the cultural and social aspects of food and feeding.

The CIA has a network of 46,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Johnny Iuzzini, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.  To learn more about the Culinary Institute of America, please visit http://ciachef.edu.

SOURCE The Culinary Institute of America

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