Purdue FIRST Programs was started in the fall of 1999 as a partnership between the Purdue Student Engineering Foundation (PSEF) and the West Lafayette
Community School Corporation (WLCSC). Though most people on PSEF never heard of FIRST, they thought it would be a great fit with their mission: to inform high school students about the endless opportunities of science and technology. Through a collaborative effort between members of PSEF and WLSC, the Westside Boiler Invasion team was formed; involving 18 high school students from West Lafayette and Harrison High Schools, 12 Purdue University Students, and 3 faculty members.
In the fall of 2001, Purdue FIRST Programs added two new divisions in addition to the high school Robotics program, Junior Robotics and Regional Event
Development. The Junior Robotics sub team mentors students at local elementary schools. It continues to blossom and has become an important fixture in the
community. The Regional Event Development team plans and hosts the Lafayette area’s FIRST events.
Purdue FIRST Programs hosted their first official FIRST event the 2002 Purdue LEGO League Regional, an event which served and continues to serve students from across Indiana.
In the Spring of 2004, Purdue FIRST Programs separated from the Purdue Student Engineering Foundation and became its own organizational entity; this change
enabled Purdue FIRST Programs to increase its impact in the community even further.
In 2005, PFP began to sponsor an additional robotics team with money and mentors, Team 1646 Boiler Precision Guessworks. And hosted the first Boilermaker Regional, an FIRST Robotics Competition official competition, in the Purdue Armory.
And in 2006 a third team was added, Team 1747 Harrison Boiler Robotics was formed at William Henry Harrison High Schools respectively.
Purdue FIRST Programs was recognized by FIRST as a unique college FIRST program and as a model in the FIRST college community. Purdue FIRST then hosted the first ever FIRST Collegiate Conference at the World Championships in Atlanta Georgia that year.
As of 2011, Purdue FIRST Programs sponsors local FIRST teams at the high school and elementary school levels. The Regional Event Development team coordinates the FLL Fall Regional and works with the Boilermaker Planning Committee to organize the Boilermaker Regional in the spring.