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FIRST helped me discover my love of engineering

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Anthony Hennig

FIRST Alum, Volunteer, & Mentor

FIRST Alum Anthony Hennig discovered his love for engineering after becoming a programmer for FIRST Robotics Competition Team 422 “Mech Tech Dragons,” in Richmond, Virginia. He later became double valedictorian for both engineering and liberal arts colleges at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a graduate research assistant in systems engineering at George Washington University. He stays connected with the FIRST community as a volunteer and mentor.

What did you do after becoming a FIRST Alum?
After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) as a double valedictorian for both engineering and liberal arts colleges, I went straight to George Washington University (GWU). Currently, I'm working in Washington, D.C., at GWU as a graduate research assistant in systems engineering, trying to understand some of the specifics and theories behind how we break up, or decompose, large and complex engineering systems and how that interacts with solvers and designers.

What are your future plans?
I want to work on technology development and be a project manager for a project that I can see evolve from beginning to end.

How has your FIRST experience impacted your post-graduation life?
During my sophomore year of high school on FIRST Robotics Competition Team 422, I became a programmer (I was also mechanical lead later in high school) – that’s when I realized how much I loved engineering. The hands-on aspect and the designing of the robots gave me an introduction to engineering and has opened up so many doors for me to learn more.

You’ve continued to be involved with FIRST as an Alum; what have you been up to?
I was out of the loop for the first few years I was at RIT, but then I came back to FIRST by volunteering with FIRST LEGO League during a co-op in Cincinnati. In doing so, I realized how much I missed working with FIRST teams. Since then, I have done some robot inspecting (lead robot inspector at the Finger Lakes Regional), I have been a judge in southern Ohio, and I have also been mentoring Team 2900, which is down the street from where I am studying.

You shared that you’ve made and kept great FIRST friends/established a great network within the FIRST community – any advice to current participants on how to do that?
Stay connected with your community! If you move away from your hometown team, find a local team that would like a mentor or even start a new team. I love watching the students get excited about challenges and make new memories on the team, all while learning about robots.

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