Dean Kamen, Distinguished Guests Recognize Student Leaders at FIRST Dean’s List Award Ceremony

Winners from Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas; Ontario, Canada

ST. LOUIS, MO., April 29, 2016 ― FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international K-12 not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen, announced the 20 student recipients during the Dean’s List Award Ceremony at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Mo.

The Dean’s List Award recipients – FIRST® Robotics Competition and FIRST® Tech Challenge students nominated by their team Mentors – were chosen because of their leadership skills, long-term commitment to FIRST ideals, and their effectiveness in increasing awareness of FIRST within their schools and communities.

Introduced in 2010, the Dean’s List Award continues to recognize students who, while in FIRST, show commitment to the FIRST mission, with the hopes that they will continue their leadership in the FIRST Alumni community, and be advocates for the FIRST experience.

The 2016 Dean’s List Award Winners included:

From FIRST Robotics Competition:

  • Brenden Barbour, Team 3284, Camdenton, MO;
  • Zarya DeSouza, Team 3494, Bloomington, IN;
  • Chenelle Foster, Team 5830, Lanham, MD;
  • Mitchel Huang, Team 503, Novi, MI;
  • Shikhar Jagadeesh, Team 846, San Jose, CA;
  • Shanatanu Jakhete, Team 180, Stuart, FL;
  • Brandon John, Team 3061, Naperville, IL;
  • Autumn Luna, Team 3250, Sacramento, CA;
  • Shaqeeb Momen, Team 1241, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada;
  • Jessa Westheimer, Team 118, League City, TX

From FIRST Tech Challenge:

  • Andrew Dornbier, Team 7220, Garner, IA;
  • Colleen Johnson, Team 3595, Fairbanks, AK;
  • Luz Moreno, Team 9547, San Antonio, TX;
  • Juwon Packer, Team 4886, Midland, TX;
  • Knut Peterson, Team 7129; Troy, IL;
  • Anshuman Radhakrishnan, Team 4855, Portland, OR;
  • Sanjna Ravichandar, Team 6037; Princeton Junction, NJ;
  • David Sargent, Team 5395, Mustang, OK;
  • Phoebe Spear, Team 6081, Westport, CT;
  • Anika Yardi, Team 8121, Rockville, MD

This year’s Ceremony featured: Colonel Marcus Johnson, Vice Commander, U.S Air Force Recruiting Service; Andrew Palumbo, Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid, WPI; Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions, MIT; and on behalf of Jeremiah Quinlan of Yale, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, Hannah Mendlowitz.

Winners of the Dean’s List Award will receive a written recommendation from FIRST to the colleges or employers of their choice, tuition and room/board for the WPI Frontiers summer session, and an invitation to attend an all-expense paid trip to the FIRST Dean’s List Award Winners Summit at FIRST Headquarters in Manchester, N.H., this summer.

About FIRST® 
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $25 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

Media Contacts:

Brooke Blew