Our team is thankful that we have multiple dedicated members willing to put in vast amounts of their time to help educate students on robotics. With a wide variety of skills and professions, our mentors help drive the students to success.
The vision that we have for the team is to develop a sustainable program that provides the best experience to the most students. Ideally, we will develop a strong program that maintains a level of participation that allows us be successful and inspire students. Winning is nice but we really want 971 to be marked by a successful, sustainable program. If we have a have a structure in place that provides planning and training, we can proactively make the decisions about how much we can tackle in a given season and adjust the scope accordingly to be successful on whatever level we decide is appropriate. We think that student learning can be maximized by training, mentoring, and inspiration. If we can inspire students to achieve more than they thought possible, we consider that a success whether we win or not.
Wyn took over as the adult leader of the team in the Fall of 2010. She has a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering and is a constant presence at meetings. She works closely with team leadership and helps to organize everything from meetings to purchasing. Her goal is to introduce students to science and technology in a fun and engaging way. She says: “I help them build teamwork, technical, and leadership skills that they will take with them into their future education, work, and other life experiences.”
Michael is an engineer at NASA and has been involved with the team since 2004. In addition to helping students build world class robots, he handles all the IT needs, trains students on the safe and proper use of tools, organises team practices at NASA and uses his vast experience to coach students on how to work as a team. He is also the team Safety Lead.
Austin joined the team in 2004 and was team captain in 2007. He graduated from the team in 2007, earned BSME and BSEECS degrees from University of California Berkeley and now works at Peloton. He helps the team with many of the aspects of building the robot, including CAD, programming, and a considerable amount more. Austin says and lives "there is always a better way. You've just got to find it."
Travis joined the team in 2005, was team captain his senior year in 2008 and graduated with an BSME degree from Olin College of Engineering. He now works at Auris Surgical Robotics. He mentors the team on strategy, design, CAD, mechanical engineering, tool use and much more. He enjoys mentoring because it gives him a chance to work with smart kids on interesting problems.
Ben graduated with Computer Science and Math Degrees from UC Berkeley and has been mentoring since 2009. He is now working at Auris Surgical Robotics Inc. He is most excited about Computer Vision and enjoys mentoring because “FRC provides real work experience to kids to connect school with skills they can use and enjoy”. He says: “algebra tests are boring, but building robots is fun. Knowing the connection between the two is something that took me a long time to figure out".
Steve works at a start-up company named Datrium, where he is responsible for the hardware in a server-storage product. He joined the team in 2010 when his son was a freshmen on the team, and enjoys seeing students develop a passion for engineering while learning teamwork and leadership. He is now the team photograher and plays an important role in documenting the team history.
Finbarr joined the team in 2009 and has a background in electrical engineering. He currently works for S3C Inc. developing pressure sensors for the automotive industry. His sons, Nicholas and Kevin, graduated from the team in 2013. He mentors the team leadership in organization and finance and enjoys helping students develop as the next generation of engineers and leaders.
A resident of Los Altos, Scott graduated with BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from MIT. He mentors the team on electrical engineering and teaches the students to have very high standards when it comes to wiring, crimping and soldering - skills that are critical for high performing robots. Also, if they don't do it well enough Austin will make them redo it!
A mechanical and electrical engineer by training Keith is currently a Engineering Program Manager at Apple, Inc. He started mentoring the team in 2015 but has been doing robotics and program management for several years and loves being able to share his industry experience and teach the students on how to execute a project well. There is still a lot of ways the team can improve and he looks forward to being involved in future projects!
Brian is getting his BS in CS at Stevens Institute of Technology and working at Peloton Technology where he develops automated vehicle software for heavy trucks to save fuel and increase safety. He’s been a mentor since he graduated from being a student on 971 in 2014. He says: “I became a mentor to help other students have fun and learn engineering like I did and to keep being involved with the interesting projects 971 does.”
Dave joined the team in 2011. His daugther, Morgan, who graduated in 2015 was team co-president and the scouting team captain. He helps out with scouting, software, lab supervision and getting students to and from competitions safely.
Dan is a Mechanical Engineer and 2016 is his first season as a mentor for 971. He loves robotics and electric vehicles. He was first inspired to join the team after meeting fellow mentor Andrew Lawrence.
Phil first got involved in FIRST with team 1503 from Niagara Falls in 2009 and has been hooked since. After he moved to California he joined 971 in 2015. He helps out with programming efforts and in getting the students started with working on the robot's software. He finds it really rewarding to see a student tackle a project and really learn the ins and outs of the problem to produce code that will help the team and the robot be more competitive.