FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Gracious Professionalism. Coopertition.

May 11, 2016 Today's Guest Blog Post is written by Christine Matheney, Technical Evangelist, Microsoft.


I had the opportunity to participate in FIRST Robotics while in high school; it is these core values that have made me who I am today. I'm sure this is a story you hear from FIRST alum often, but I wanted to share my own story with you as well as why our team at Microsoft is so excited to put on the Imagine This Contest.

In high school, I was part of a Girl Scout FIRST Robotics Competition team who met at NASA. It was about 30 miles between my high school and our robotics lab, and I had amazing parents who drove me to and from the lab after school for three years. We had a blast - it was a team of brilliant young women, super supportive mentors, and a lot of creativity. On the team, I learned both technical skills and leadership skills. By the time I graduated, I was both comfortable using a drill press and creating and executing a plan for the team to attend championships in Atlanta. 

My time on the team, learning those technical skills, led to me doing a degree in Electrical Engineering at Marquette University. My gracious professionalism and coopertition mentality helped me build strong teams, communicate effectively, and be successful. Throughout college, I had a passion for sharing my love of technology with others, and during my senior year, I heard about the role of technical evangelist at Microsoft.

As an evangelist, one gets to get people excited about development, coding and building awesome stuff - best job ever, right? During my interview with Microsoft for this position, I was asked to demo an app I had built for a class competition – in order to showcase my technical skills.  It was a similar competition to the Imagine This Contest, which Microsoft is hosting this year. Being able to point directly to a technical project I worked on helped me shine as a candidate. I got the offer, and I have the coolest job in the world. 

Why is Microsoft hosting the Imagine This Contest?

Our team's mission is to get people excited about development, coding and building awesome stuff. We spend almost every weekend at hackathons and have seen that it's the way students are demonstrating their technical ability these days. Software development and coding are almost a required second language if you want to be in a technical field, and it’s never too early to get students started.

Last year at Championships, we had a booth and were able to demonstrate some of the awesome stuff Microsoft technologies can do. This year, we decided to step up our game and provide new ways for students to build their technical expertise and show off their skills. The skills you develop while in FIRST will help you with everything from building a better robot to getting into college – and landing your first job.

Can't wait to see what you share with us for Challenge 5!


Christine Matheney

Technical Evangelist, Microsoft

FRC 1868, Alumna


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