Nancy shows young visitors what the robot can do
To this day, I still can’t get over how this past season was the Posse’s last one competing in robotics. For me, it has been a total of 8 years participating in FIRST programs and even though there were ups and downs along the journey, I enjoyed every year. Robotics not only influenced my career path but also allowed me to form valuable connections with my teammates and mentors (which I am forever thankful for).
Back in 4th grade, my life goal was to become an ice cream truck driver, because I thought it was awesome that they could eat as much ice cream as they wanted to all day long. Sure, at some points I thought being a doctor would be cool, but an ice cream truck driver seemed like the way to go. Only after participating in FIRST did I truly see fields I could pursue in STEM, like engineering, computer science, and many more. I realized rather than eat ice cream all day, I found it more enjoyable to brainstorm ideas, test them, improve them, and finally bring them to life (while eating a little bit of candy to keep my mind focused). The satisfaction I had whenever a part worked correctly was incredible and well worth the hours put into creating that design. As a result, I started thinking about how mechanical engineering might be a career I would really love. FTC has helped me tremendously learning skills that would be useful in this field such as how to use modeling software like Creo or Onshape, 3D printing, metal fabrication, and much more. With this program and the help I received from my teammates and coaches I know have a clear idea of what I want to be, doing something I love.
Besides influencing my career paths, robotics has let me make lifelong relationships with my teammates. Although I am one of the younger members of the team (a grade below all of them except Charlotte), I never really thought of them as older than me. Instead, they just became part of my family and close friends that I hung out with every day. Personally, I feel as close to each and every one of the ladies as I do my own sister, so it breaks my heart knowing I have to part with some of them as they leave for college and start their own lives. I still plan to keep in contact (often video chatting and messaging them late into the night) and plan to volunteer at robotic tournaments practically every weekend with the ones who stay in Minnesota, but it won’t be the same. We no longer will be spending hours on end in the Lam’s basement, having Posse dinners together every week, or frantically preparing for the competition the night before. Regardless, these memories and the people a part of them are things I will always cherish.
I am so happy my parents let me participate in robotics every year since 4th grade, driving me to every meeting and supporting me along the way. Without FIRST and my wonderful FIRST family, I probably wouldn’t be the same person I am today It has shaped me in so many amazing ways and I can’t wait to give back to the programs by volunteering and mentoring.
Wherever life may take us, the Posse will always hold a special place in my heart and I know our fire for robotics will never be extinguished.
Nancy has started her senior year at Mounds View high school. In the upcoming robotics season, she will be actively mentoring our former coach’s rookie FTC team, Spontaneous Construction, and volunteering at robotics events. Now that the Posse has retired, she is excited to have time to join ultimate frisbee and possibly another extracurricular activity like speech team. She plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering after graduation.