Veronica Pochet, a FIRST®volunteer in Dayton, Ohio, brings her career experience as an architect to this season’s challenge. As a team mentor and volunteer, she sees the impact FIRST has on students and on her own children as they have participated in FIRST programs. She’s getting other local architects involved in outreach with FIRST LEGO League teams so that students can see the impact that thoughtful architecture can make in everyday life.
My name is Veronica Pochet. I started volunteering with FIRST seven years ago, when my two kids got involved in FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. I volunteer because I saw the impact FIRST had on my kids even just a few weeks into the season. By the time our initial season was completed, I really admired the FIRST Core Values, and how it fed into everything my kids do. I feel like being a part of the FIRST community for so long has allowed me to recognize its long-term effects on the development of youth.
FIRST has become a large part of my family’s life. My husband and I have coached FIRST® LEGO® League Jr., FIRST® LEGO® League, and FIRST® Tech Challenge teams. Our teams incorporate the FIRST Core Values and volunteer every chance they have. I have enjoyed watching both of my children grow up participating in all four FIRST programs. They are now teaching rookie teams about FIRST LEGO League.
When volunteering at a kickoff, a tournament, or just swinging by a rookie team’s practice, I always try to pause and marvel at a team’s ability to work together and solve problems. It makes me feel better about our future – and a little jealous.
Outside of FIRST, I am an active member of the American Institute of Architects. Last year, as president of the local AIA Dayton chapter, one of my initiatives was to get our group more involved with K-12 outreach and introduce Architecture in STEM Programs starting in elementary school.
I am getting an opportunity to align both of my volunteer organizations via the 2019-2020 FIRST LEGO League CITY SHAPERSM Challenge. Because the theme is centered around building and architecture, I saw it as an opportunity to get local architects involved in outreach, helping kids discover and potentially become passionate about architecture. My hope is that teams learn to view their communities in a new way and that they learn of the impact thoughtful architecture can make in everyday life.