Meet James Griffin-Allwood
I have been involved in FIRST® LEGO® League for 13 years. During my undergraduate degree, I was approached to volunteer as a scorekeeper at a competition intended to bootstrap interest in the region. I was immediately taken by the excitement of the students who were participating and the combined enthusiasm of both the volunteers running the competition and the coaches that brought the teams. I can safely say now that I was hooked immediately.
For the next four years as I finished my Computer Science and Education degrees, I volunteered as a FIRST LEGO League referee. I spent the weeks leading up to the competitions studying to make sure I understood the missions, the models, the rules, and most importantly that I was prepared to foster a spirit of Gracious Professionalism® among the teams and coaches that came to my tables at the competitions. The collaborative nature of FIRST competitions where volunteers, parents, and coaches work together to model professional behavior and to ignite passions for science in students has always set this program apart from others in my mind.
For the past eight or so seasons, I have been privileged to be the Head Referee for the FIRST LEGO League competitions at Acadia University. Every year, it is my pleasure to train a team of referees which ranges from 10-40 volunteers and continues to grow. I have been privileged to see students compete through the FIRST LEGO League and Robofest programs, and then come back to volunteer in a competition or as a coach for a team. I have seen firsthand students entering Computer Science programs after discovering their passion in FIRST.
Every year, I look forward to competition season because I get to work with a wide selection of volunteers, parents, teachers, and industry professionals toward a common goal. Inspiring students to learn and pursue their dreams by working together to create role models and opportunities that empower them to take a chance.
James is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is the Head Referee for the FIRST LEGO League competition held at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. He is a Senior Development Engineer for Ping Identity.