VISTA News & Tools

Fighting poverty with Robots

Welcome to News & Resources for VISTA Members.

Here you will find current press releases, newsletters and other helpful information.

The FIRST VISTA program is proud to sponsor  “VISTA of the Month”, a program through which other VISTAs, Site Supervisors, or other key adult volunteers in the field that work with VISTAs are able to nominate them as recognition for outstanding service. A winner is chosen every month. Members are rewarded for outstanding service and receive a certificate and other recognition items. Scroll down below to see the most recent additions to the new "VISTA of the Month" program.

VISTA Newsletter

FIRST VISTA Newsletter - Winter 2015

FIRST VISTA Newsletter - Fall 2014

FIRST VISTA Newsletter - August, 2014

FIRST VISTA Newsletter - April, 2014

FIRST VISTA Newsletter - January, 2014

FIRST VISTA Newsletter - October, 2013

FIRST VISTA Newsletter - July, 2013

VISTA of the Month

To nominate a VISTA, use the nomination form here:

January 2015 VISTA of the Month: Dylan Fuehrer, Kansas City, MO

“Dylan has worked tirelessly to help prepare a community space for two FRC teams to work on their robots. This engineering zone is a community based work space that is immediately serving two low income, underserved teams. He has spent countless hours painting, moving, prepping, assisting, coaching, and mentoring. He does this work without complaining, without resisting, and is always looking for ways to improve the space.”

December 2014 VISTA of the Month: Jordan Clark-Mand, Rochester, NY

“As our first VISTA, Jordan has taken up the ball and sprinted with it. She understands that there was no one before her and knows that she is building the template and laying the foundation work. Jordan is an Energizer bunny with no off switch. She is always going to new events and introducing herself and spreading the word of FIRST. I can’t say enough about how grateful Rochester and the FLL NY Finger Lakes Committee is for Jordan.  She is making things happen and opening doors for STEM education where we need it most.”

November 2014 VISTA of the Month: Milka Piszczek, Rockville, MD

“Milka has been an exceptional VISTA since her start in September, building on her great background as a FIRST team member through high school.  She has already contributed greatly in outreach to teams, underserved communities, and capacity building.  We’d especially like to recognize her recent outreach efforts to support an MIT Alumni information session and gathering supporters for a Microsoft Store opening, which benefited STEMaction and FIRST in Maryland.”

October 2014 VISTA of the Month: Hilary Waite, Seattle, WA

“Not only has Hilary been instrumental in her work with the FIRSTWA’s Girls in STEP initiative, she has spent many, many hours with outreach events for girls, and general outreach in Washington. Hilary is an inspiration to hear from on the weekly calls. For all her hard work in outreach and going above and beyond to bring girls into STEM and FIRST, I nominate Hilary Waite.”

September 2014  VISTA of the Month: Samantha Fleming, Richmond, VA

Samantha has worked with VirginiaFIRST as an AmeriCorps VISTA since June 2014. We have found her to be an intelligent, hard-working, ethical, and socially-conscious young woman. We have been impressed by her maturity and dedication. She is well-liked by everyone - our staff, volunteers, and the students who participate in our programs. To try and limit our admiration and appreciation for Samantha to one form is a very hard task indeed.

August 2014 VISTA of the Month: Michael Lyden, Fairmont, WV

On Michael's first day at his placement, we put him in front of 60 1st grade students, and he not only did a great job of teaching robotics and FIRST, but he had a good time. We are just fortunate that he chose the FIRST VISTA program to lend his expertise to. We are very proud of the work Michael has done in his position and are excited about the projects he will complete during the rest of his tenure.”

July 2014 VISTA of the Month: Clare Entwistle, San Antonio, TX

“Clare is an exceptional team member. When I reached out for help on the Eastside Promise Neighborhood capacity-building project, she jumped on the idea and provided great insight on the project. Without her, this project would not be a success. She has gone the extra mile to make sure we have the best project we could possibly provide.”

June 2014 VISTA of the Month: Mariah Villareal, San Antonio, TX

“Mariah represented the FIRST VISTA program very well at the Global Conference. She spoke very eloquently as she sat on the panel to explain her impact on underserved communities in San Antonio.”

May 2014 VISTA of the Month: Ryan Headlee, Fairmont, WV

“Ryan habitually gives his free time to mentor and support local teams. He is constantly working behind the scenes to help out. Ryan goes above and beyond what he is required to do and his attitude.”

April 2014 VISTA of the Month: Jason Barnes, Boston, MA

"He creates partners, not just workers. I am greatly impressed with his willingness to take on such an effort and pursue it to completion. He works with style! A personal style that is earning him, as well as FIRST, many compliments."

March 2014 VISTA of the Month: Renee Becker, Indianapolis, IN

"Renee has made contact with every FRC team (52) in Indiana for updates and concerns.  She has been able to help these teams with finding support to fit their need. She is also working with several underserved youth FRC teams to find resources and support for their build and keep them on track."

February 2014 VISTA of the Month: Malcom Strickland, Kansas City, MO

"Malcom has gone out of his way over the last several months to work with teams and get them up to speed. He works himself to the point of exhaustion to make sure teams get what they need, when they need it."

January 2014 VISTA of the Month: Paul Membere, Providence, RI

"Paul has worked very effectively helping a inner city school manage their FTC and FRC programs despite the conflicts that have arisen between the various mentors and administrators. His ability to observe, suggest ideas and communicate to others the issues has allowed this situation to be handled as well as hopefully effectively solved. He did this without being drawn personally into the conflict and remained neutral in its resolution helping others to solve their issues."

December 2013 VISTA of the Month: Loridee Wetzel, Moscow, ID

"Because of Loridee’s initiative and extraordinary efforts, several very rural and poor communities are currently experiencing FLL and FTC. She went more than the extra mile to reach them, she has visited with them learn about FIRST, the challenges, and how to use the robotics systems.”

November 2013 VISTA of the Month: Joel Croteau, Tampa, FL

Croteau: “Being named VISTA of the month is a really great thing for me to hear, it just tells me that I am in fact doing a good job and helping FIRST in any way I can. My hope is that by winning this I set the bar and now my fellow VISTA'S will then shatter that bar and go above and beyond what I've done. I'd love for this to become a sort of competition where we all test each other to do our very best each month!”

Press Releases

July 15, 2013 - President Obama Expands National Service Opportunities for Americans
April 22, 2013 - President Obama Announces STEM AmeriCorps to Inspire Young People's Interest in Science and Technology


FIRST is building a campaign led by ServiceNation and 18 of the nation’s leading service organizations in an effort to make national service part of the American way of life. The campaign will connect the stories and impact of AmeriCorps members on the ground to writers and producers in Hollywood, media and digital partners, politicians of both parties, social-minded brands, and everyday citizens so that one day it will be common for young Americans to turn to each other and ask, “Where will your year of national service be?” Learn more at