Mentor Spotlight: Julie Reinecke

This week we are spotlighting one of our newest Robotics Mentors, Julie Reinecke.

Julie is a Baton Rouge native and is a Junior in Electrical Engineering. She enjoys running, hiking, and completing her own DIY projects. She is very interested in entrepreneurship and after graduating in 2 years, she plans on moving to another state and starting her own company in the next 10 years.

What is your favorite part about being a robotics mentor?

My favorite part of being a robotics mentor is learning something new each day. Not only about something robotics related, but about myself and the people I work with.

How has being a robotics mentor impacted you personally and/or professionally (i.e.: internships, leadership skills, etc.)?

Being a robotics mentor has further developed my analytical and problem solving skills, as well as improved my ability to work with a team.

What do you think it means to be a robotics mentor?

Being a robotics mentor means being a fundamental part of facilitating the intellectual and technical pursuits of the students I work with.

Robotics Mentors at Bayou Regional

FIRST includes a community of high schools that span the globe. In the FIRST regional competition that occurred in Kenner, Louisiana, (formally named the Bayou Regional) teams traveled from South Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Florida, Texas, and even Turkey and China in order to compete. There are many FIRST regional competitions that occur around the United States.  The top competitors of each regional go on to compete at nationals.  The competitions allow teams to compete and test their six week build robots.

The FIRST community possesses a quality that many other extracurricular activities do not—that is, the willingness to assist other teams. For example, at the Bayou Regional, when the Pit Administration made an announcement that a team was looking for a part, teams were so willing to stop what they were working on and help the team in need in any way possible, either by donating an extra hand or an extra part.  This was a common occurrence because as we know, building almost never goes as planned.

Throughout the weekend of the competition in Kenner, robotics mentors had the privilege of teaching the students about the Society of Peer Mentors. They were also able to showcase the three-day robot named Peggie. This exposed the students to the difference between high school and college robotics by showing them the difference in pace concerning the construction of a new robot. Through assisting at the competition, the mentors were able to reach out to the students and help them through the transition from high school to collegiate level robotics.

Mentor Spotlight: Jonathan Nguyen

This week we are putting one of our favorite Computer Scientists in the spotlight, Jonathan Nguyen.

Jonathan is a Senior in Computer Science with a minor in Robotics. He will graduate in December 2017 and would like to work in software development in a leadership or manager role and potentially with robotics. He is from Chalmette, LA. His hobbies include gaming, coding for personal projects, and technical and creative writing. He works with the Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network (LATAN) working with coding humanoid robots.

What is your favorite part about being a robotics mentor?

My favorite part would probably be seeing my mentee students have a kind of “Eureka!” moment when they come to understand how something in a robot works or when they finally succeed in getting the root to do a complex task.

How has being a robotics mentor impacted you personally and/or professionally (i.e.: internships, leadership skills, etc.)?

It has given me a good, continuous way to practice my leadership and communication skills. My work has also opened doors for me in both social networking and experience that has resulted in two internships/jobs over the past year.

What do you think it means to be a robotics mentor?

I think it means being both a friend and teacher to students showing that them the basic tools of making and designing a robot, then guiding them so that they learn and do the more complex aspects of design themselves.