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FIRST inspired my high school to invest in young engineers

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Jeremy Shikarides

FIRST Alum, Volunteer, & Mentor

FIRST Alum Jeremy Shikarides joined his high school’s rookie FIRST Robotics Competition team, Team 5943 “Bad News Gears,” from Caramel, New York, and was inspired to major in aerospace and mechanical engineering. After noticing how many of the school’s FIRST students were applying to MIT and other high-profile engineering schools, Jeremy’s high school began investing in the team.

What did you do after becoming a FIRST Alum?
After high school, I began attending SUNY at Buffalo (UB) and am majoring in aerospace and mechanical engineering. I had also applied to MIT and didn’t get accepted, but because there were so many team members applying to schools like MIT and other high-profile engineering schools our high school took notice and started investing in the team!

What are your future plans?
My goal is to be able to work on manned Mars missions.

How has your FIRST experience impacted your post-graduation life?
FIRST was the biggest influence on my career. In my freshman/sophomore years of high school I was on the varsity wrestling team. My sophomore year I was injured and had to leave the team. I have always been a “tinkerer” and in my junior year I noticed that my school was in its rookie year of having a robotics team, so I decided to join! The first year was very busy and hectic but I learned a lot of lessons. In my senior year I became a team captain, and by then the team felt like a family. I have learned how to overcome problems and I learned to live by one of my favorite quotes, to “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Teddy Roosevelt.

You’ve continued to be involved with FIRST as an alum; what have you been up to?
I am a mentor for my home FIRST Robotics Competition team, Team 5943, and for Team 7016. Additionally, I have been working towards the possible creation of a SUNY scholarship for FIRST Alumni and was assistant game announcer at the 2017 NYC regional and one of two emcees at the 2018 Hudson Valley regional.

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?
Don’t be afraid to talk about robotics, and don’t be afraid to reach out! So many people I talk to on a daily basis, from classmates to paraprofessionals, were involved in FIRST, and I would have never known had I not talked about robotics. As I’ve practiced and performed as game announcer and emcee, I’ve been able to stay connected with all the other wonderful volunteers, through Facebook in addition to FIRST Alumni groups on Facebook.

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