2009 FIRST Scholarship Winner Testimonials


Here is what some of our 2009 FIRST Scholarship Winners have to say about FIRST and their FIRST Scholarship:

"Participating in FIRST opened my eyes to the many possibilities that exist for me in the wonderful world of engineering. Winning a FIRST scholarship has enabled me to pursue my interests in space flight and exploration the best way possible--by going to a top notch university and studying aerospace engineering." 

-- Ciara Waldron, FRC Team 704 and FTC Team 684, University of Texas at Austin, Class of 2013,  Aerospace Engineering, winner of a University of Texas at Austin FIRST Scholarship and a Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship

"When I joined FIRST, I didn't actually expect it to be anything more than a hobby. What I didn't realize was the great number of advantages that came with my participation! Because of FIRST I became eligible for multiple engineering and technology scholarships, and this really helped me out when figuring out the whole college issue! When I received Bradley's FIRST scholarship, it gave me that extra boost I needed to come to the college of my choice!"

-- Alison Vigland, FRC Team 2408, Bradley University, Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering

"My experiences in FIRST helped me forge a love for engineering and building things. Because of this experience, I will forever be changed. The FIRST scholarship at the University of Kansas, allowed me the opportunity to not only chase my new found dream of becoming an engineer, it gave me the financial support to achieve this lofty goal. Without FIRST I wouldn't be where I am at today."

-- Davis W, Team 1710, University of Kansas, Class of 2013, Aerospace Engineering

"Besides being an awesome experience, FIRST played a key role in getting me to the college of my choice. The scholarship I received from the Raytheon Company was key in helping me attend the small out-of-state private school that is the right fit for me. Just having FIRST Robotics on my resume encouraged numerous other companies and organizations to contribute to my education. Thus far I am debt free-Thank you FIRST!"

-- Andrew N, Team 1348, George Fox University, Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Robotics Scholarship

"FIRST is the reason why I am where I am today.  Working alongside mentors to complete an "impossible" task has gifted me with the confidence not only to attend, but to excel at The Ohio State University.  Working alongside my peers, having the opportunity to teach others has instilled in me the values I discovered in FIRST; Community, Excellence, and Professionalism." 

-- Brian B, Team 1989, The Ohio State University, Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering - focus on "Green Engineering", winner of an Ohio State University FIRST Scholarship

"FIRST Robotics presented me with outstanding real world experience while I was still in high school. It helped me grow in many aspects that relate to my future because, as part of a small business-like team, I was given the opportunity to lead from the C.E.O. position which confirmed in me the aspirations to become a leader in the engineering world. "

-- Hayden M, Team 1710, University of Kansas, Class of 2014, Dual Major - Mechanical Engineering and Business  Administration, winner of a KU FIRST Scholarship

"My time at the FIRST competitions were some of the best times I have had in high school, and now, thanks to the University of Arizona/BAE Systems scholarship I received, I can continue to do what I love! FIRST not only gave me FIRST-hand experience when it came to engineering, it also gave me many choices when it came to deciding on a college, and then it offered scholarships for the school that I finally chose." 

-- Laura N, Team 1633, University of Arizona Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering, winner of a University of Arizona/BAE Systems FIRST Scholarship

"The FIRST Scholarship from Raytheon has helped me to pursue my engineering education and build off my great experiences through the FIRST Robotics Competition.  The program has made the cost of college easier to bear, and I'm very grateful for the assistance."

--  Adam H, Team 2137, Michigan Technological University, Class of 2012, Electrical Engineering, Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship

"The FIRST robotics program is the best thing I did during high school. The program helped me learn more about engineering and technology while allowing me to work with other talented people at my school. Even if we did not do well at the competition it was still an amazing experience because winning was never the point, the point was building a robot. The scholarship I received is part of the reason I went to the University of Minnesota due to how expensive all the other colleges are." 

-- Arthur L, Team 2535, University of Minnesota, Class of 2013, Aerospace Engineering Major, winner of the University of Minnesota/PTC FIRST Scholarship

"FIRST exposed me to a new world of science, technology, and innovation, and it was through these experiences that I developed my desire to attend Georgia Tech as a Mechanical Engineering major. The Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship aided me in attaining this goal and I am thankful for all of the support Raytheon Company provides for the FIRST programs. I am now working towards obtaining a prestigious degree from a world-class institution."

-- Michael J, Team 1477, Georgia Institute of Technology, Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship

"Colleges recognize how much hard work being on a FIRST team entails, so when they get your application and it says that you were a part of one, they immediately know that you are serious about engineering. Not only that, but they know that you have the people skills and the professionalism to excel at their institution. It makes accepting you an easy choice."

-- Jonathan M, Team 2827, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Class of 2013, Computer Science

"I received the Engineering Top Scholar Award from Marquette University, a full tuition scholarship. I also received over $7,500 in other scholarships, because of my FIRST experience. I joined FIRST my junior year, and fell in love. My senior year, our team did better than ever imagined, our hard work paid off. Before I joined, I was unsure what type of engineering I wanted to get involved with, and really was unsure what I wanted to do in school. Through being on the team, I learned time management, which has really helped me balance my college schedule. FIRST has opened so many doors, given me so many opportunities, and has helped me gained connections that I couldn’t have even imagined."

-- Christine M, Team 1868, Marquette University, Class of 2013, Electrical and Computer Engineering, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship

"I started high school without really knowing what I was going to do in college.  Luckily, our school was able to get a robotics team started, and from then on I have been in love with robotics.  If it had not been for FIRST I would never have gotten the opportunity to participate in such an amazing program.  I learned more about engineering through FIRST than I ever could have imagined, and the practical experience of actually building robots is something that I could never learn in a class.  I can proudly say that I am an alumni of FIRST robotics; it was the best experience of my high school career."

-- Pace N, Team 1807, Carnegie Mellon University, Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering with Robotics Minor, winner of an ASME - ASME Auxiliary Scholarship

"As a freshman in high school, I started my school’s FIRST Robotics Competition team. We struggled in our FIRST three years for sponsors and recognition in our school, but in my senior year I got two of the best surprises I could have asked for: Not only did we win a Regional, but I was also awarded a scholarship to attend Clarkson University to study Mechanical Engineering- just because I’d been a part of FIRST!  I’m now part of Clarkson’s FIRST Robotics Living Learning Community, a special dormitory floor that also houses the headquarters for Clarkson students’ outreach to local schools for FRC, FTC, and FLL programs. Clarkson’s incredible involvement in FIRST was originally what drew me to the school, and the fact that they reward students who are involved with the FIRST program is a testament to just how important the study of science, math, and engineering is.  I look forward to my studies at Clarkson, and eventually to enter the ‘real world’ of engineering that FIRST and Clarkson have prepared me for."

-- Libby K, Team 1923, Clarkson University, Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering, winner of Clark University FIRST Scholarship

 "When I was little, I told people that I wanted to be an engineer when I grew up, without really knowing what it meant. FIRST gave me more than a definition; it taught me how to be an engineer and what it feels like. In fact, it still is, even after high school; the Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship helps me focus on my studies and learn more about engineering here at MIT."

-- Christie C, Team 2621, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Class of 2013, Mathematics, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship

"FIRST really opened my eyes to the real world of engineering and development around me. I've learned so much, so fast through the hands-on experience being on Team 1717 in FIRST Robotics -- not only in engineering but business and organizational skills as well. And many thanks for supporting me in attending college! I'm definitely continuing in science and technology."

-- Angela D, Team 1717, Princeton University, Class of 2013, Likely to major in math or computer science, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship

"I attend my FIRST-choice college, Olin College of Engineering. I’m only a freshman, but we are already tackling engineering and modeling projects such as designing and building mechanical toys and writing code to simulate the effects of different policy initiatives on literacy rates in developing countries. Thanks to FIRST, I have both the money to attend this amazing school and the skills to confidently approach Olin’s challenging freshman engineering projects."

-- Ilana W, Team 2915, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Class of 2013, winner of an Olin College FIRST Scholarship, Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship, BAE Systems FIRST Team Scholarship, and an International Fluid Power Society FIRST Scholarship   

"I had joined FIRST when I was a junior in High School and ever since then it has increased my interest in engineering.  I was very happy to receive the FIRST Scholarship. I was astonished when I found out that I had been selected to receive this scholarship because I never win anything.  I had no idea how I was going to be able to afford to better my education and this scholarship makes everything a lot easier. My winning this scholarship has increased my chances to fulfill my goals. Thank you FIRST."

-- Esa M, Team 1748, Capitol College, Class of 2013, Electrical Engineering, winner of a Capitol College FIRST Scholarship

"I’m at the Missouri University of Science and Technology studying Computer Engineering.  Being in FIRST Robotics was one of the best experiences of my life.  It made all the difference in my decision for engineering.  I was very appreciative to receive a FIRST scholarship from Raytheon Company.  I have learned tons in only a month of being here and it is a very rewarding experience."

-- Landon D, Team 2345, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Class of 2013, Computer Engineering, winner of Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship 

"Being able to be a part of FIRST has been enlightening. I hadn't thought of what I wanted to do much after high school until I joined and realized where my true passions lay. With receiving a FIRST scholarship it gave me the ability to attend ASU's engineering school in a program that focuses on specific areas of computer programming, electronics, and mechanics."

-- Staci O, Team 1165, Arizona State University, Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering (Computational and Mathematical Mechanics), Winner of an Arizona State University FIRST Scholarship

"FIRST has taught me the value of teamwork, commitment, and responsibility.  Having the opportunity to work with engineers and mentors is an irreplaceable experience, and remains one of the reasons I chose to study electrical engineering at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.  Mahalo to FIRST and BAE Systems for their support towards my education! "

-- Malcolm M, Team #359, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Class of 2010, Electrical Engineering, winner of a University of Hawai'i at Manoa/BAE Systems FIRST Scholarship

"FIRST has opened opportunities that I would have not believed otherwise. I have met wonderful people through FIRST.  Also with the help of FIRST's scholarship I was able to help pay for Lawrence Technological University. FIRST's scholarship was a big deciding factor of being able to go here or not."

-- Julianne K, Team 818, Lawrence Technological University, Class of 2013, Electrical Engineer, winner of Lawrence Technological University FIRST Scholarship

"The experiences I had with FIRST were awesome! I learned much about working with people as well as about the specifics of Engineering.  I´m thankful for the scholarship I received so that I will be able to study and learn more from the college experience."

-- Joshua M, Team 1014, Brigham Young University, Class of 2013, Engineering or Physics, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship

"Participating in FIRST Robotics impacted my decision for ultimately choosing an engineering major.  Being at Olin College could not have been possible without the FIRST scholarship. The scholarship allowed me to attend one of the best engineering schools, to have an opportunity to attend an out-of-state college, and to pursue my engineering career."

-- Jenny M, Team 687, Olin College of Engineering, Class of 2013, Engineering

"The scholarship opportunities offered through FIRST gave me the ability to not only finance my education at the University of Texas, but to also learn more about societies and companies that support and are interested in mentoring future engineers. My four years of FIRST gave me the focus and skills to thrive in my future career in engineering. Being honored by being chosen as the recipient of the International Fluid Power Society and the Lone Star Regional FIRST scholarships has been a great reward."

-- Will C, FRC Team 118, University of Texas at Austin, Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering

"My wonderful experience with both the FIRST Lego League and the FIRST Robotics Competition confirmed my lifelong desire to become a mechanical engineer.  I took pride in seeing a box of parts transformed into a fully-functional, articulating robot in just six weeks. FIRST was probably the most rewarding activity of my high school career."

-- Will S, FRC  Team 449, Johns Hopkins University, Class of 2013, Mechanical engineering, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Robotics Scholarship

"FIRST has provided invaluable experiences that allowed me to explore different occupational fields both by doing and observing. FIRST taught me the importance of commitments and deadlines and with this it prepared me for the challenges of college. This program also helped teach me how to balance school and work. Thankfully though, with the help of the Raytheon scholarship being granted for the sophomore thru senior years of college, based on annual eligibility, I am able to more easily balance these tasks and focus more on my major: something I am very grateful for."

-- Kyle B, Team 269, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Class of 2013, Biochemistry, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship

"FIRST really got me started off on the right foot. From the day I joined the Desparate Penguins (Team 1504 Okemos, Michigan), I got the whole taste of the Engineering world, designing a product and creating a final idea out of concepts we wanted to master, designing the parts for our product, and, with the help from mentor, building a robot and maintaining it during competition. Seriously, this is all stuff that I'm currently being "taught" in my first engineering class. And by applying for the Grand Valley State University FIRST Robotics Scholarship, I was able to use my strengths in writing to help fund my way to my engineering degree. If it wasn't for FIRST, I would not be as well-off as I am now."

-- Erich Hoeft, Team 1504, Grand Valley State University, Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering

"Before High School, I knew I wanted to major in something technical, but I didn't know which major to choose. But because of FIRST, I was able to make a more informed decision about what to major in.  Additionally, I learned not only how to build a robot, but also how to organize ideas enough to materialize them."

-- Megan Ruthven, Team 2587, University of Texas at Austin, Class of 2013, 
Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin FIRST Scholarship

"When I first started high school I had no idea what I wanted to do, I had no mechanical knowledge whatsoever, and I had almost no experience with any type of tool or machinery.  After I joined FIRST robotics, I fell absolutely in love with machining, CAD design, and knew that I definitely had passion in this area.  FIRST completely decided what major I wanted to study, which is Mechanical engineering.  University of South Florida decided to offer a FIRST scholarship to two students this year and I was one of the lucky two who received the scholarship. it is now going to allow me to receive money for books, and to have a job in one of the robotics research labs instead of having to work at a fast food restaurant to make it through college."

-- Peter Wales, Team 233, University of South Florida, Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering,

"FIRST has given me experience working as a team, setting goals, and working with people that I needed to succeed in college, but couldn't get from just my high school experience.  With FIRST on my resume, colleges wanted me, and gave me a second look.  Thanks to FIRST, I now have the skills I need, and the financial support that helps me attend.

-- Evan Anway, Team 236, Franklin and Marshall College, Class of 2013, Environmental Science, winner of the Allaire Medal Scholarship

"FIRST has been a great experience.  For me it really helped make science alive.  I remember the first time I used an equation from my physics class for figuring out a problem.  I was so excited.  I realized you can actually use physics to figure out real life problems.  Getting the FIRST scholarship was really great.  Because of the help of the FIRST scholarship, I have paid for my first year of college debt free.  Thanks!"

-- Rosa Nemec, Team 1317,  The Ohio State University, Class of 2013,  Mechanical Engineering, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship

"Raytheon's FIRST Scholarship empowered me to attend one of the most complete electrical and computer engineering programs, at the University of Illinois. It is an honor to get the chance to study broadly and in great depth to solve present and future challenges, a resolute interest of mine since FIRST stimulated my curiosity.  Since coming to Illinois I have cherished the opportunity to work with the world's engineering experts, not only in the classroom but also in engineering projects including nanotechnology research."

-- Sumit D, Team 1111, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Class of 2011, Electrical Engineering, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship

"My experience on my high school's FIRST robotics team was invaluable. I joined the team freshman year, the first year we had a team at my school. Through the years, I learned about drive trains, gears, and motors, not to mention teamwork, planning, and coordination. Being on the team inspired me to become an engineer. I am immensely grateful to the Raytheon/FIRST Robotics Scholarship Program for rewarding students who show determination and hard work in the pursuit of knowledge and the realization of the infinite possibilities of engineering."

--Ramesh Govindan, Team 1768, Dartmouth College, Class of 2013, Engineering modified with Biology, winner of a Raytheon Company FIRST Scholarship