How FIRST Changed Me For The Better. It Can Change You, Too.

Mar 25, 2019 Written by Emily Ralph from FIRST Strategic Partner, Rockwell Automation


Sometimes you just know there’s something you’re meant to do.

I’m a mechanical engineer. When I transferred cities I was looking for a way to connect locally, and was invited to a FIRST meeting at a local high school.

That was six years ago. Since that evening, I have spent a shocking number of hours mentoring the FIRST teams. Have I changed them? Maybe. Have they changed me, made me a better engineer? Definitely.

Without mentors many kids on these teams will succeed – but many will not. As mentors, we might be the first professionals – engineers, builders and designers – in their lives.  

As much role model as mentor, sometimes we’re silent on the sidelines and other times we’re in the middle of the fray, cheering louder than anyone in the stands.

It’s Not Words. It’s Action.

I can’t put into words exactly how it feels to spend late evenings with teams imagining, designing, building, fixing, trying and trying again.

But let me tell you what I’ve seen.

The school where I volunteer is bursting with brilliant kids. They have the skills and aptitude to become some of the world’s finest engineers and scientists, makers and creators. But what they don’t always have is support – someone who can open doors and open their eyes to opportunities.


Javion got this opportunity because he was on the FIRST team. It will inform his entire professional life. I know meeting him changed mine.

A huge part of mentoring is sharing yourself. Anything and everything you can give, influences their future.

And yours. ​Hear Javion's story in his own words. 

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