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FIRST taught me how to learn from my peers

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Hans Mueller

FIRST Alum & Volunteer

FIRST Alum Hans Mueller began building hands-on experience and exploring his passion for STEM on a FIRST LEGO League team in third grade. In high school, he joined FIRST Robotics Competition Team 2220 “Blue Twilight” in Eagen, Minnesota, which was captained by his older brother. The team gave Hans an opportunity to learn from his brother and other experienced peers. “One of the biggest things I learned from FIRST was how to be a leader and how to take feedback from those upperclassmen and use it to be better,” Hans says.  

What did you do after becoming a FIRST Alum?
After becoming a FIRST Alum, I started college at Iowa State. I am currently a sophomore majoring in industrial engineering. I chose industrial engineering because the skills of process improvement can be applied to a lot of different focuses, which makes the skillset more marketable. Our program at ISU is economically focused, which I find to be very interesting.

What are your future plans?
I want to pursue an MBA and work in a technology-focused company because that is what I’m passionate about. I’m interested in process improvement work and project management.

How has your FIRST experience impacted your post-graduation life?
FIRST gave me hands-on experience that helped me learn about my passion for STEM. I was originally on a FIRST LEGO League team in 3rd grade and joined a FIRST Robotics Competition team my freshman year of high school. FIRST was something I loved being a part of, and it was also a bonding experience for my brother and me. My brother was the team captain during my freshman year. We had an 80-person team with 40 seniors. It was great to learn from them, and they became mentors to me as well. Our team also has outstanding professional mentors from industry jobs that were instrumental in my technical and soft skills development.

You’ve continued to be involved with FIRST as an Alum; what have you been up to?
This will be my sixth year as a FIRST volunteer. I’m excited to continue this streak for many years to come. This year I’ll be volunteering at the Minnesota regionals.

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?
You have to be willing to take advice and feedback and apply it in positive, helpful ways. When I first joined my FIRST team, I was on a team where 50 percent were seniors, which was overwhelming initially; but, I learned that the upperclassmen know what they’re doing and can provide insight that I haven’t experienced yet. One of the biggest things I learned from FIRST was how to be a leader and how to take feedback from those upperclassmen and use it to be better.

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