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What FIRST Means to Us

     Even though we are one team, we are made up of numerous individuals, individuals who have worked with the bandsaw so many times, they can saw with it blindfolded (note: that was a meant to be a joke. ALWAYS use safety goggles when working with dangerous equipment!) and individuals who are just starting to learn the concepts. We all have opinions no matter who we are, including opinions about what FIRST means to us. Here are some short articles from a few former members of our team explaining what FIRST means to us.


But first! What is a FIRSTer?


     FIRSTer is a term we made up to define a member of a robotics team, a member that not only works for his/her fellow teammates but for the rest of the world in spreading the knowledge and meaning of FIRST. We classify teams that work hard not only on the game field but also in the community of FIRSTers. FIRSTers show a strong love for the work they do and that love influences them to do extraordinary things.



Patricia's Story:

When I was in the 7th grade, I joined an FLL team. Little had I known how greatly FIRST would impact my life. I never even knew there was more to FIRST until one day in my 8th grade geometry class Leah Green, the FRC mentor's daughter, asked me if I was interested in joining Vanden's Robotics Club. At this point I knew that I would pursue a job in engineering; however, I was still on the fence about that decision.      

     Although I was only entering high school, I already had preconceived fears on applications to higher math concepts. As an intimidated rookie on the team, I not only believed that ideas in my head were stupid, but that I would never be able to wrap my mind around other people's ideas. In general I lacked confidence, and if I hadn't joined robotics, I probably would have changed my pursuit of my now-desired major: civil engineering. 

    Thanks to FIRST, my preconceived fears are currently close to nonexistent. As a senior, looking back at the meek freshman I was 4 years prior, I knew that if I hadn't joined robotics I would have never started going with my dad to listen to presentations on new transportation systems. When I am listening to these presentations, it doesn't feel intimidating anymore, and my own thoughts don't seem incomprehensible. I am no longer afraid of pursuing civil engineering, and I have grown passionate towards the idea of having technical projects, just as how it is in FIRST. 

     I truly consider myself lucky to have been exposed to FIRST and I believe other students should also have this opportunity. Many people shy away from STEM careers because they are consistently told that these STEM careers require difficult math. FIRST has allowed me to see the other side of STEM careers- that these careers aren't boring or difficult, that there isn't just one component in a technical project, and that most ideas can develop into something successful. Four years on an FRC team still doesn't feel like enough, since although the mission of FIRST has extended out to me, many people still lack these opportunities. I hope to continue carrying the message of FIRST through my own future successes. 


As written: Patricia Mendoza, 2015 Alumni


Leah's Story:

     Hello! My name is Leah Green and I was on the team for 4 years. As a Robovike, I have served as Team Outreach Director, Vice President, and President. FIRST is a lifestyle that I have been a part of for 15 years, ever since my dad started the team in 2000. After years of dreaming of being on this team, I finally joined in my freshman year . One of the aspects of this team that makes it so special is that any student, no matter what interests them, can have a place on this team. When I joined Team 701 in 9th grade, I had no idea which aspect of robotics I should and would become a part of; I felt like I didn't excel anywhere. Then, right before an off-season competition, I was "volun-told" to write up a business plan for our team. This was when I realized that my favorite part of robotics was all of the planning, outreach, and business that goes on behind the scenes.

     After just a few months, these teammates became my family. I have learned so much from this team: from the physics that goes into creating the perfect robot to the interpersonal skills needed to build a sustainable team that is active in our community. Perhaps even more important is that I have learned more about myself and what I have a passion for. Now, I am planning on studying business at UC Berkeley. Even though I've graduated and moved away, Team 701 will always be my family.


As written: Leah Green, 2015 Alumni

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