Non-Technical & Chairman's Award Coach, Arizona and FIRST Tech Challenge Affiliate Partner
I grew up in Prescott, AZ, though I was born in South Carolina and lived in Oklahoma before moving to AZ because my dad was in the Air Force. I have my Bachelor of Science from Northern Arizona University in Physical Science and Secondary Education and a Master of Arts in Science Teaching also from Northern Arizona University. My MAST project was working with the CocoNuts to create our Camp COCONUTS program, the “FIRST Lego League in a Nut Shell Guide” and accompanying Professional Development training. So…I got to get my Master’s in robots! Before I started teaching at Coconino I worked for three summers as the Challenge Course Director for Willow Springs Program Center in Prescott, AZ. This is an amazing Girl Scout camp with a high and low ropes course, so I spent those summers climbing trees! In 2004 I spent the summer working at the US Space Camp in Huntsville, AL where I got to take kids through simulated astronaut training – amazing! Time truly flies when you’re having fun, because I’ve already been teaching for 10 years! I currently teach physics in the Coconino Institute of Technology program, as well as Advanced Placement Physics. I also do the recruiting for the Coconino Institute of Technology. I absolutely love working with students and sharing my passion for science everyday. It all started with those two fateful words…”Hey Christine!” Mr. T and I started the CocoNuts 10 years ago because we had the chance to go to competition and see the insane excitement that the teams had for science and engineering and the incredible Gracious Professionalism that’s unlike anything we’d ever seen. I absolutely love FIRST! I love working with the ‘Nuts and seeing each one transform through their time in FIRST. I love running events all over AZ and NM. I love the passion that the FIRSTers have for changing the world! I love that FIRST opens doors and provides opportunities to kids that they might not have had without it. Thank you CocoNuts for all you do to inspire me and thousands of others every day!
Robot & Drive Coach, Arizona and FIRST Tech Challenge Affiliate Partner
Being a native Arizonian, I grew up in Mesa, AZ and attended Mesa High School. I was always inquisitive as a youth, taking things apart and sometimes even getting them back together much to my parents delight. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Geophysics that I received from Northern Arizona University. I also hold a Master’s in Science Education and Administration and was awarded a Doctorate in Education in 1999. My path to teaching was a winding journey. I have numerous years of management experience having managed restaurants and lumber companies. During college I was a ski instructor during the winter months in Northern Arizona and fought forest fires during the summer months. After graduating with my Bachelor’s degree I found myself in Brazil managing an oil exploration company where we worked in the Brazilian jungles and off shore doing geological mapping. The exciting thing about this international career was being able to teach the Brazilian laborers English while they taught me Portuguese. This formulated my strong belief in education and making sure my teaching was hand’s-on and inquiry driven. My teaching career began at Flagstaff Junior High where I instructed algebra and science. I then moved to Coconino High School where I was asked to teach physics. My passion for teaching is based upon student centered learning where I actively facilitate students to learn about the natural world through modeling the physical phenomena. Having taught high school for 20 years I was honored with numerous awards such as State Teacher of the Year ambassador, National Teacher of the Year, Presidential Awards, and numerous others. My biggest award is seeing the success of my students. NAU asked me to start a STEM teacher training program at the university where I have actively been instructing for the last 10 years. During this time I started the CocoNuts with a young teacher I was honored to have as a student teacher and her professional mentor. The passion for FIRST robotics has permeated my life in all aspects. I love watching the growth of our students and seeing the amazing gracious professionalism they exhibit as they grow to be FIRST ambassadors themselves. Together with my co-coach, Christine Sapio, we are the affiliate partners for FIRST Tech Challenge, responsible for both Arizona and New Mexico. I say it daily, but the excitement I bring for STEM education through FIRST robotics is because of the inspiration I see in each our student members. My goal is to help each member of the CocoNuts and the FIRST family to achieve their dreams and build their confidence in life as they grow into unique young adults.
I am currently going to school for my Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Northern Arizona University. I enjoy running around and being nutty with all the Coconuts. I have been on previous robotics teams and that’s what inspired me to pursue engineering further. I enjoy watching the crazy nuts find their drive and inspiration.
I grew up all over the midwest and graduated high school from Naperville Central HS near Chicago. I received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Texas in Austin. I have worked as a Software Engineer in the LabVIEW group at National Instruments, but I am currently a Design & Automation engineer at Gore. I mentor the team because I’m very passionate about engineering and programming and love to share it with everyone I meet. FIRST is an excellent program that shows how fun and exciting the STEM fields are and I want to support it as best I can.
This is my second year as a programming mentor for the Coconuts, an activity I enjoy because of the enthusiasm and exceptional work of the programming team. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at the University of California at Riverside. While at school, I also took computer science classes and soon realized that I wanted to make a career in software development. After graduating, I moved to Flagstaff, AZ to work at the United States Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Center. While at the Geological Survey, I worked on several NASA planetary missions developing applications in image processing, instrument calibration, and data acquisition and distribution. In 2004, I moved to Tucson, AZ to work at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona. While in Tucson, I happily worked on the Mars Reconnaissance Mission as a Science Team and Operations Manager for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment. I retired in 2013 and have been in Flagstaff ever since. I also enjoy volunteering at many of the FIRST FTC and FRC tournaments throughout Arizona. America’s future depends on the next generation of highly competent and enthusiastic scientists and engineers. In volunteering for the FIRST organization, I am happy to help in some small way for the next generation to achieve these goals.
I have been teaching for 29 years. I have a Bachelor of Science in Applied Science from Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University and a Masters in CTE Education from Northern Arizona University. My wife and I are Flagstaff residents where we have raised our 2 children MacColl and Annlynn. I love teaching and working with my students. I am looking forward to a great year!
Build Team Mentor
I am from Levittown NY and moved to Flagstaff when I was 14. Since then I have moved up and down the state. I have enjoyed raising my son in Flagstaff for the past 11 years. I attended Coconino High School and Coconino Community College and I will be transferring to NAU in Spring of 2017. I currently am working towards a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. I have worked for Fry’s Electronics, America Online (AOL), as well as many other companies. I currently run my own website design company and also work as Business Manager at Evans Insurance. Some of my past volunteer work includes assisting at the local food bank, helping with parent teach organizations and I spent a number of years on a school board. I co-coached the Sinagua Mustang Robotics team. Now I spend many hours a week working with the CocoNuts FIRST Robotics Competition team and I will be coaching the CocoNuts FIRST Tech Challenge team this year. I have never had the fortitude to be a fulltime teacher but love education. Being a mentor gives me a chance to assist young people in their endeavour of an education. Programs like FIRST Robotics gives students a chance to learn in a fun and exciting way that is far more likely to stick with them. If you make learning fun the student will develop a love of learning, which is a great lifelong quality.