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FIRST mentor leads students into brighter futures

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Chelsey Roebuck

FIRST Alum, FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1218; Mentor, FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1660; Co-founder, Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE)

“For many students, myself included, FIRST was a vehicle that helped to create a spark while developing values and traits such as Gracious Professionalism, Coopertition, and grit, and I’m excited to partner with FIRST this year as a STEM Equity Community Innovation Grantee to help spread the vehicle to impact more students. I’m excited to see FIRST continue to impact the lives of so many others, just as it has my own.” –FIRST Alum Chelsey Roebuck

FIRST Alum and mentor Chelsey Roebuck co-founded the nonprofit Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE), a Harlem-based youth development organization that uses STEM education to empower students from underserved communities to realize their academic and career potential. As part of his efforts to create equity and improve access for opportunity youth attending public schools in New York City, Chelsey formed ELiTE’s Harlem Robotics Coalition through a FIRST STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant. The coalition is establishing a multi-site network of school- and community center-based robotics programs within Upper Manhattan’s Community School Districts 4, 5 and 6. Chelsey, who graduated from Columbia University with a mechanical engineering degree before starting ELiTE, is a mechanical mentor for the Harlem Knights, a FIRST Robotics Competition team from Frederick Douglass Academy.

Chelsey received the Evelyn Kamen Rising Star Award for his accomplishments in leveling the playing field in STEM for underrepresented populations at the 2017 FIRST Inspire Gala, where he was honored alongside President Barack Obama. “Chelsey is using the skills and passion he gained as a member of a FIRST team to profoundly impact the lives of young people,” said Donald E. Bossi, president of FIRST. “I’m extremely grateful that our alumni network is brimming with people who are not only well equipped to tackle any challenge; they’re using those hard-earned skills to truly make the world a better place.”

Chelsey has been featured on Forbes 30 Under 30: Education list and in a U.S. News article about FIRST  promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.

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