Each year, volunteers around the globe go above and beyond to positively impact our FIRST students and FIRST community. This past season was no exception as we saw our students explore transportation and logistics in the FIRST FORWARD season. Our local FIRST partners often honor and recognize volunteers in their regions by awarding them with a Volunteer of the Year award. We are extremely grateful and congratulate each of these recipients for their contributions to their region!
In addition to local awards, FIRST Headquarters also selects recipients for a FIRST Volunteer of the Year Award each year, choosing individuals from each program who have invested significant time and effort in their volunteer role and impacted the whole of FIRST in a far-reaching way. They are role models and leaders and we couldn’t do what we do without them. FIRST is proud to announce the 2021 – 2022 FIRST Volunteer of the Year award recipients.
From FIRST Robotics Competition, we would like to recognize Chuck Dickerson. Chuck has made a significant impact to the FIRST Robotics Competition program in his nearly two decades of service. He has an unwavering commitment to the team experience, volunteering as a team mentor, event volunteer, or both, for 18 years. Most recently, in 2019, he was asked to take on the role of Co-Chief Lead Robot Inspector. In that role, he brought his ongoing passion for delivering the best possible experience to the teams. Thank you, Chuck, for your commitment to FIRST teams and students!
From FIRST Tech Challenge, we would like to recognize Jacob Burroughs. Jacob has been rolling strikes as a FIRST Tech Challenge volunteer since the “Bowled Over” season in 2010-2011. More recently, he helped elevate FIRST Tech Challenge to the cloud with his senior software experience. This year, he focused on inclusion and scaling the FIRST Tech Challenge scoring system through language translation, remote features, and the ML-toolchain as an integral part of the development team. Thank you, Jacob, for your valuable contributions to FIRST this season!
From FIRST Lego League Challenge, we would like to recognize Andrew Snape. Faster than a speeding Event Hub, stronger than rubric results, able to leap emcee duties with a single bound, Andrew has worked diligently behind the scenes to ensure the volunteers have an amazing experience and the teams come first. He brings boundless energy, a can-do attitude and a fantastic sense of humour (with the British "u" to help us not take ourselves too seriously). Andrew has volunteered countless hours in both the US and UK as a global judge advisor, tournament director, emcee, video script writer, Event Hub developer, and more. For the many hours you have given to FIRST LEGO League Challenge, thank you Andrew!
From FIRST Lego League Challenge, we would like to recognize Abdulmatin Adeniji. Adbulmatin participated as a 15 year old student FIRST LEGO League team member in our first season in Nigeria. Three years later, upon enrolment to a Nigerian University to study Mechatronics, he reached out to be a mentor/coach to a school so he "can help them get the same opportunity he was given." In the last 4 years, Abdulmatin has mentored many FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge teams across Nigeria, juggling this responsibility alongside the rigors of studying. This year, he took charge of training and equipping teachers and students with FIRST Tech Challenge knowledge, as well as ran the regional qualifier competition. Thank you, Abdulmatin Adeniji, for being a role model for all FIRST students who aim to give back to schools and youths in their communities.
From FIRST Lego League Explore, we would like to recognize Dr. Patricia Gouws of South Africa. Dr. Gouws is a passionate and dedicated volunteer of FIRST LEGO League. She emphasizes the importance of introducing children to FIRST programs beginning with the FIRST LEGO League Discover division and then to Explore. Her great work has helped grow the impact of these programs in her region especially in underserved populations. She volunteers because she wants to empower the next generation and help them build the skills necessary to bring positive change to South Africa and beyond. Thank you, Dr. Gouws, for your investment in bringing FIRST to all students!
We are extremely grateful to have a fantastic community of FIRST Volunteers and appreciate the impact each of them are making on our students. Congratulations again to our Volunteer of the Year recipients for 2021-2022 and we look forward to what we will accomplish next in the upcoming FIRST ENERGIZE presented by Qualcomm season!