The culture of learning and inclusion that FIRST embraces is facilitated by the mentors who help these kids adapt and grow. FIRST truly has the best mentors!
Take, for example, Drew with FIRST Robotics Competition 3627, Jungle Robotics. He is the mentor for the Sarasota County School District. Drew started his career in animation and design and is now teaching robotics and engineering after the students sought him out to get involved in FIRST Robotics Competition. It's easy to tell that it is a position that he takes seriously and brings a passion for STEM learning with him. He's there for the team every step of the way, from the first day of planning and build to outreach programs and team building exercises. He also helps them realize that win or lose, they take the experience along with them.
Drew is also a part of the Scouts, acting as the District Vice Chair in charge of STEM. And although one doesn't normally see a correlation between the Boy Scouts and Robotics, after spending a few minutes with Drew, we were left wondering why we had never put it together ourselves. STEM is actually integral in the teachings of the Scouts, in almost everything that they do. And now they are designing badges, medals and programs that are specific to robotics, gaming and graphic design.
Check out our interview with Drew to find out more about the exciting Scout programs that promote STEM as well as his current FIRST Robotics Competition team and plans to expand in the future.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Daniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.
Although Michele has worked in the banking industry full time for many years, she originally went to school with a concentration in communications, advertising and marketing. She began her career in sales and retail management, selling electronics and computers. Her love of all things tech eventually brought her back into the electronics arena three years ago when she started with PLuGHiTz Corporation to help with special events as a Production Assistant. Soon she began to dabble with the audio and video and is loving her role as Producer. She's also one of our content writers and assists with product reviews. Looking forward, she is excited to expand her skill set into editing and helping the company continue to grow.