2012 FIRST Scholarship Winner Testimonials


Here is what some of our 2012 FIRST Scholarship Winners have to say about FIRST and their FIRST Scholarship:

“When I was choosing a college, one of my top priorities was to find a school with a closely affiliated FRC team so I could stay involved in FIRST. When I learned that team 125 was physically located under the engineering building on the Northeastern campus, I was sold. I applied and immediately accepted when I got in, but then the cost hit me. I would have to transfer after my freshman year because I could not afford the tuition. Therefore when I was awarded the scholarship, I was overjoyed to be able to attend the college of my dreams without drowning in debt. My four years in FRC earned me $160,000, without which I would not have been able to go to my dream school, which should allow me to become a successful engineer. I hope I will be able to inspire more students to participate in FIRST Robotics and learn all that it has to offer.”

-- Samantha Hay, Team 1073, Northeastern University, Class of 2017, Industrial Engineering

"Not too often in your life are you able to completely uproot your future and improve it forever - for me, this started with FIRST Robotics in 9th grade and ended with applying for a scholarship in 12th. Two months later I earned a scholarship that changed my life forever. Now I'm attending the college of my dreams, making every day better than the last, and working towards someday changing the world. I could have never made it to WPI without FIRST. Thank you."

-- Troy Hughes, Team 27, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Class of 2016, Robotics Engineering, Winner of the WPI Design Innovation Scholarship

"FIRST has truly inspired me to think outside the box of what I want to do with my life. As there are many components that come together to allow a team and robot to function, there are also many avenues of life from which a person can choose. My time as a FIRST participant has shown me that the most important part of FIRST is not building the robot or writing the awards, but impacting the lives of others. FIRST inspired me to actively pursue a career that will improve the lives of others like myself, and this scholarship has been immensely helpful in assisting me to do so."

-- Carolyn Michener, Team 2836, Boston University, Class of 2016, Speech Language Pathology, Winner of a United Technologies Corporation CT FIRST Alumni Association Scholarship

"When I was a sophomore my mind was set on attending Missouri University of Science and Technology; however, I was not too sure on how that would work out with having an older sister starting college one year before me. Knowing I got something a little extra from FIRST made it more than possible for my hopes and dreams to work out."

--  Becky Robinson, Team 1723, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Class of 2016, Civil Engineering

"FIRST gave me the skills to not only get into college but to also afford it.  I can put my experiences with FIRST in my resume and I am now being interviewed for prospective positions in my freshman year. FIRST also showed me my talent for business which has changed my life ad taken me down a path of happiness."

-- Kylie McGill, Team 3773, Eastern Michigan University, Class of 2016, Business

"All students should apply for FIRST scholarships. The FIRST scholarship program is an integral part of my college career. With out FIRST I would not be where I am. With FIRST's scholarship program I am at my dream college and you could be too!"

-- Daniel S. Cohen, Team 3187, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Class of 2016, Robotics, Mechanical Engineering, Winner if ASME-ASME Auxiliary FIRST Scholarship

"The FIRST Scholarship made my college decision so much easier and much more possible! I always wanted to become a mechanical engineer, and the FIRST Scholarship along with a Dean's scholarship from the University made it possible for me to go to a well known out-of-state university of my choice."

-- James Sato, Team 3318, Drexel University, Class of 2017, Mechanical Engineering

"Participating in FIRST Robotics reaffirmed my aspirations to be an engineer. I loved designing, programming, building, and collaborating with my friends. I also gained much experience as a leader and teacher while helping others learn. The FIRST Robotics scholarship I received from Boston University gave me the opportunity to pursue a degree from a top notch university."

--  Thomas Lozanoski, Team 5758, Boston University, Class of 2016, Biomedical Engineering

"My FIRST experience and scholarship affected my choice of college and my area of study. I wouldn’t have even considered the University of Rochester if I hadn’t seen its name on the list of schools offering the scholarship. Now that I am here, I know that it was definitely the right school for me. Though my FIRST experience was mostly focused around the business and project management aspect of the team, it inspired me to try my hand at engineering. I am now a Computer Science and Physics major!"

-- Becky Everson, Team 245, University of Rochester, Class of 2016, Computer Science and Physics

"Being on a FIRST team really helped narrow down what I wanted to do after college and even narrowed down my college search.  I had an idea for a few years for what I wanted to do and putting that idea into action by being a programmer for a FIRST team gave me experience to show that this is what I wanted to do.  Scholarships are always appreciated by the students who need them no matter how much they are."

-- Brandon Jaworsky, Team 2171, Purdue University, Class of 2016, Computer Science

"Winning the SME FIRST Robotic Scholarship was an honor and a blessing.  As a result of my involvement with high school robotics and my participation in FIRST, I learned several very valuable lessons.  I learned to face adversity without quitting, I learned to work effectively on a diverse team, I learned the value of hard work, and most importantly I learned to lead.  I would encourage any high school student interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematic to participate in FIRST."

-- Brooke Bosley, Team 3694, Wesleyan College in Macon, GA, Class of 2016, Applied Mathematics & Computer Engineering, Winner of SME FIRST Robotics Scholarship

"My experience through FIRST led me to pursue an Engineering major. The FIRST Scholarship made it possible for me to go to college without the worry of debt. I consider myself very lucky to have received this scholarship and cannot imagine what I would have done without FIRST."

-- Marianne Rojas, Team 3221, University of Washington, Class of 2016, Aeronautics & Astronautics, Winner of a University of Washington/Boeing Scholarship

"If it was not for the support of the FIRST ASME-ASME Auxiliary scholarship I may not have ended up here, the school of my dreams. Here, at Boston University, I am mentoring FIRST robotics team 246, while studying mechanical engineering."   

 -- Emily Stern, Team 353, Boston University, Class of 2016, Mechanical Engineering, Winner of an ASME-ASME Auxiliary FIRST Scholarship

"FIRST provided excellent mentors, lifelong friends, and a fun, exciting, inspirational environment that instilled in me a passion for robotics. For me, the lasting effect of FIRST was the mindset of solving real-world problems with robotic solutions and having the confidence to take on challenges through ambition and teamwork. Receiving a FIRST scholarship helped me to continue my education in robotics at the graduate level, where I hope to further my expertise while pursuing a career in robotics for planetary exploration."

-- Tom Carlone, Carnegie Mellon University, Class of 2013 (graduate program), Robotics, winner of the United Technologies Corporation FIRST Scholarship 

"The FIRST Scholarship has allowed me to achieve my life long dreams. College is a big deal, and if not for the scholarship, I wouldn't be where I want to be."

-- Mathew Spencer, FTC Team  3397, Clarkson University, Class of 2016, Civil Engineering

"For me, FIRST was a unique and unforgettable experience. Not only did I build new relationships, it provided me with a set of skills not learned in an academic environment. I’m happy to have joined, and I know what it has taught me will help me in my time at university."

-- Wen Bo Li, Team 1134, University of Toronto, Class of 2016, Engineering Science, Winner of a University of Toronto FIRST Scholarship

“My involvement in FIRST during high school fuelled my passion for robotics and was instrumental in helping me gain admission into the university engineering program of my choice. It not only helped develop the problem solving, teamwork, and leadership skills required to design, build, and operate a competition robot, but also differentiated my accomplishments from those of thousands of other university applicants. This experience helped me gain entrance into the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Toronto, one of the most competitive programs at one of Canada’s top engineering schools. It’s an honour to be awarded a FIRST scholarship, and the award really helps shoulder the high cost of an engineering education.”

-- Aidan Solala, Team 610, University of Toronto, Class of 2016, Mechanical Engineering,  Winner of a University of Toronto FIRST Scholarship

"I grew up competing in FIRST; FLL for three years followed by FTC for four. When I began looking at colleges, the available robotics programs was a strong component I was interested in. Worcester Polytechnic Institute stood out to me for their strong involvement in FIRST and their undergraduate robotics degree. Winning a FIRST scholarship to this school solidified my choice and allowed me to attend this fantastic college."

-- Samantha Swartz, FTC Team 3085, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Class of 2016, Robotics Engineering,  winner of a  WPI FIRST Design Innovation Runner-up Scholarship

"FIRST gave me real experience with engineering and its applications. My FIRST Scholarship is helping me to get a fantastic education at a world-class university."

-- Dana Cinque, Team: 433, Penn State University, Class of 2016, Computer Science

"Receiving a FIRST scholarship has really changed the way I was able to attend college because, for me, attending an exclusive university like Boston University was essentially off the table. With half of my tuition paid for by the scholarship, I don't have to worry as much about financial restriction, and now I can pursue my passion for engineering instead of worrying about how I'm going to pay off my loans. There's a great community here for engineers, engineering, and innovation, and all of this would have been totally inaccessible without FIRST's help. I would not be where I am today twice over if it weren't for FIRST: they've kindled my love of technology and allowed that love to continue out into the real world."

 --Zachary King, Team 467, Boston University, Class of 2016, Mechanical Engineering

"I would like to start this off by thanking FIRST for their support; participating in FIRST competitions has been one of the best things I have done in my whole life. Participating in FTC and FRC helped me decide what I want to study in college but college is expensive and thanks to this scholarship I will be able to buy all the necessary materials that I need for my classes. I encourage others to apply for this scholarship; there is nothing to lose by doing so."

-- Daniel Alejandro Gomez Cazares, FRC Team 2159 and FTC Team 5629, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Class of 2016, Engineering Mechanics & Astronautics

"Having the privilege of being a member of Team 640 who participated at the FIRST Robotics competition was one of the most life changing and important experiences ever. I had the opportunity to meet and compete with amazing intellects and broaden my network. This helped me in making the right decision for my future and choosing the correct career path. FIRST opened one of many doors for me by granting me a scholarship that helped me follow my dreams without having to worry about student loans and being able to attend a private institute. My experience with FIRST is one that I will never regret, so make sure you take the time out and explore the many options that FIRST has to offer!"

-- Saneela Rabbani, Team 640, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, Class of 2016, Electrical Engineering

"Winning a FIRST Scholarship played a major role in helping me make my decision to come to Clarkson.  The scholarship money provided me with enough aid to balance with other colleges.  I would encourage anyone in FIRST Robotics to apply for this scholarship!"

-- Jonathan Krest, Team 1518, Clarkson University, Class of 2016, Chemical Engineering

"In my case, my FIRST experience was life changing.  It was through FIRST that I discovered my love of programming, electronics, and robotics that I didn't realize until I was exposed to it by being on the team. Besides the programming, building and electronic skills I acquired, I also learned how to work on a team, mentor and help other teams/students and work under pressure.   It was also at a FIRST regional competition that I came across a recruiter for my college.   I think my experience being on a FIRST team helped me become a desirable college candidate and , of course, win the FIRST scholarship.  I am currently attending DigiPen Institute of Technology pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering and I look forward to continuing with FIRST in a mentor capacity."

-- Parker Olive, Team 2557, DigiPen Institute of Technology, Class of 2016, Computer Engineering

"It is difficult for me to put into words how great an impact FIRST has had on me. However, I can say that without it I would undoubtedly not be the same person that I am today. The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had cannot be rivaled by any other sport or extracurricular activity that I have participated in – FIRST works!"

-- Bryan Culver, Team 33, Kettering University, Class of 2017, Mechanical/Industrial Engineering, Winner of a FIRST Gates Corporation Scholarship

"Entering into high school I had no clue what I wanted to do with myself. That is I didn’t, until I joined FIRST FRC Team 1647, The Iron Devils. Being a part of The Iron Devils helped me decide not only which major I wanted to pursue, but what I wanted to do with my life. In other words, there could not have been a better way to spend four years of my life!"

-- Nicole Puzio, Team 1647, Rowan University, Class of 2016, Mechanical Engineering, Winner of an ASME Auxiliary FIRST Clarke Scholarship

"I loved participating in FIRST as a high school student and enjoy seeing younger classmate continue to build and grow as a part of FIRST. As a college student, it is incredibly gratifying to know that FIRST has help me make my dream of studying engineering possible. And that institutions and businesses like the Oregon Institute of Technology continue to support and reward students who participate in FIRST.  I would encourage every FIRST teammember to apply for these scholarships and take advantage of the opportunities FIRST and their partners provide."

--Elizabeth Sheehy, Team 3712, Oregon Institute of Technology, Class of 2016, Civil Engineering

"FIRST has been a huge part of my life, and without it I would not be going into engineering. It not only gave me technical experience, but also gave me access to mentors, experiences, and some of the best friends I have ever had. The main obstacle for FIRST is the individual costs. Because, most teams can't raise enough money to afford robots and competition fees many team members have to pay substantial dues.  This prevents many students from experiencing FIRST, and discourages many promising students from getting involved in a tremendous program.  Scholarships rewarding students for participating in FIRST encourage students and help many students justify the cost, as well as making sure that students go to college to expand their career. Getting this scholarship from ASME has not only helped me go to college, but also encouraged me to persuade others to join FIRST as I work as a mentor, and help them build a better future for themselves."

--Ryan Edwards, Team 435, North Carolina State University, Class of 2016, Mechanical Engineering, Winner of an ASME-ASME Auxiliary FIRST Scholarship

"FIRST was a game changer for me. I learned first-hand the true potential of the STEM fields, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and it inspired me to pursue a Computer Science & Engineering degree at our renowned state university to continue in the sort of work I did for the team. It was a wonder, an honor, to have been a leader on our team, passionately working together with the other members, using the same kind of techniques and tools that successful professional engineers use in the real world, to rise to the task of building an advanced and competitive robot. If that does not speak leaps and bounds about the capabilities of dedicated and inspired students, then I don't know what else does."

-- Allan Dotson, Team 3555, University of Connecticut, Class of 2016, Computer Science & Engineering