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 graduated from The University of California, Berkeley in 2011 with a dual Mechanical Engineering and Computer Engineering degree. He worked at Google for nearly 2 years before moving to Peloton Technology where he spent 6 years as the software architect. Austin currently works at Blue River Technology, a John Deere company, developing sprayers to target weeds using AI. He is the lead software mentor for FRC Team 971. In his spare time, Austin enjoys hiking and biking. Austin joined the team in 2004 and was team captain in 2007. 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. 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!
Brian works 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.”
James joined the team as a high school student in 2010 and graduated in 2014. He got his degrees in computer science and robotics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and now works at Peloton Technology writing controls software. He has mentored the software team on 971 since graduating college in 2018.
Nick is an alumnus and current mentor on FRC 971 focusing on mechanical design. He is currently a mechanical engineer at Intuitive Surgical, developing minimally invasive robotic health care solutions. Nick graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley in 2017 and an MS in robotic systems development from Carnegie Mellon in 2018, where he mentored FRC 3504, the Girls of Steel. In his free time, Nick enjoys cycling, hiking, and playing ultimate frisbee.
Aren graduated from the Iowa State University in 2013 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He worked at Vex Robotics for over 3 years. Today Aren is a senior mechanical engineer at Auris Health. In his spare time, Aren likes to build Power Wheels go-carts and BattleBots. He is the team leader for Tantrum, which has appeared on the last two seasons of BattleBots on the Discovery Channel. Aren was too busy with other projects to write this bio, so we wrote it for him.
Megan Guttieri is a FIRST Robotics Team Alumnus from 3309, the Friarbots and current mentor for 971, Spartan Robotics. Today, she is studying cognitive science at the University of California, Berkeley. As a passionate member of the FIRST community, she has volunteered as the Lead Queuer for the San Francisco and Silicon Valley Regionals. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, watching movies, and taking care of her Bearded Dragon, Viserion.
Bryan graduated from Kettering University with degrees in mechanical and industrial engineering. He worked for VEX Robotics for five years before moving to Auris Health in 2018 to work as a mechanical design engineer. Bryan has spent nine years on FRC 33, one year on FRC 148, and currently works with FRC 971 as a mechanical design mentor. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys rock climbing, biking, reading, and whatever project strikes his fancy.
Kristin graduated from Georgia Tech in 2018 with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. She currently works at SRI International in the Sensing and Diagnostics Lab as a Bioengineer working on point-of-care medical devices. Kristin is an alumnae and former mentor of FRC Team 4468, Fernbank LINKS, and is currently a mentor on FRC Team 971, Spartan Robotics. Her current hobbies include trying to find the best boba by the lab.
Sarah received her bachelors degree in software engineering and her masters in computing from Macquarie University in Sydney Australia. She currently works at Google as a software engineer on trusted computing platforms. She has been involved with FIRST since she was -4 months old, though her active involvement started 15 years ago. Sarah is a Dean's List winner and Woodie Flowers finalist. After ten years mentoring FRC Team 3132, she joined 971 as an outreach, awards, and software mentor.