Indiana State Championship – Staff Spotlight

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(pictured on far right)

Aryn T. | Alumni | Team: 4982 | Pansexual | 2016 – Present

Why did you get involved with FIRST?

I joined my team in 2014, our rookie year, and have been involved ever since! We went to worlds on Rookie All-Star and I fell in love with the environment and the community and can’t imagine leaving it.

Why did you join LGBTQ+ of FIRST?

I joined LGBTQ+ of FIRST after noticing a lack of diversity within the community, and where there was diversity, a lack of acceptance. I wanted to create an opening and welcoming environment for any person to be accepted and acknowledged.

What are you most looking forward to this competition season?

I get to meet countless friends this season, from all over the world. My experiences with the FIRST community have been so positive and I’m so excited to meet the people who have made my time in FIRST so great!

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New York City Regional – Staff Spotlight

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Val| Senior  | Pansexual | 2017 – Present

What is your favorite experience with LGBTQ+ of FIRST?

This might be more of a collection of experiences, but I’ve always loved the late night karaoke sessions we’ve had on the Discord server. Even though people always seem stressed from school or work, we sometimes have these karaoke sessions that just go on for hours with songs from hit musicals, cartoons, and competition. While we sometimes only know each other as a group of names, pictures, and words, karaoke and conversation bring a feeling of togetherness, an organic display of who we are behind carefully curated collection of thoughts we control within our keyboards. It’s a reminder to me that there’s always someone there for support.

What are you most looking forward to this competition season?

I’ll be doing game announcing training at New York City Regional, but I’m super excited to see how strategy varies between different regions. I haven’t had too much of an opportunity to focus in on regional variants of strategy in the past, so I’m hoping we get to see the game evolve into different branches.

What is one cool thing you’ve learned lately?

I recently learned how to make origami cranes in my Japanese class, as we’ve been working on a 千羽鶴(Senbazuru) to send to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The process of making origami is very soothing, and papercraft in general is very comforting.

NE UNH – Staff Spotlight

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Errica C. | Senior | Team: 1073  | Female | Pan | 2016 – Present

What do you do on your team?

I’m the CEO/captain of 1073. Previously, I was the software VP/lead.

Why did you join LGBTQ+ of FIRST?

I’ve always struggled with self-confidence and allowing myself to be anything beyond others’ expectations. FIRST gave me the opportunities I needed to open up and learn to take a stand for my identity, and LGBTQ+ of FIRST is a chance for me to pass it forward for others in the community.

What are your goals for the future?

Currently, I plan on majoring in computer science and entering the medical field.

Colorado Regional – Staff Spotlight

Danielle E. | Senior | Team: 1339 | West | Female | Pansexual | 2017 – Present

Why did you join LGBTQ+ of FIRST?

I was about a year into a non-straight relationship and still questioning my sexuality and I wanted to engage in a community where I would find friends who might be like me. When I saw the truly fantastic community LGBTQ+ of FIRST cultivated, I decided that I wanted to support it’s growth and get other people connected to it.

What are you most looking forward to this competition season?

The regionals my team is attending this year are looking really competitive so I’m excited to see everyone having some serious fun! I also did a lot of my team’s artwork for imagery this year so I’m hoping we’ll get to trade shirts with a lot of teams and hopefully win the imagery award! (fingers crossed!)

What are your goals for the future?

I plan on studying Computer Science and Graphic Design in college next year with hopes of going into Web Design. I’m also into knitting so hopefully I can develop that craft and try making a sweater.

Sacramento Regional – Staff Spotlight

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Cyprin M. | Junior| Team: 4135 | West | Nonbinary | Pansexual/Poly | 2017 – Present

What is your favorite experience with LGBTQ+ of FIRST?

My favorite experience with LGBTQ+ of FIRST is probably spreading the word – seeing people’s excitement not only at the pins but at the realization they aren’t alone in this….it’s truly the most amazing thing.

What are you most looking forward to this competition season?

Competitions, of course! The atmosphere, the rush, the excitement – It’s incredible. I’m especially excited for this season, though, because I get to help with LGBTQ+ of FIRST outreach!

Recommend a book, movie, album, podcast, etc. to us.

I’m hooked on Maker youtubers again, and right now I really like the Make Anything 3d printing channel. He turned a CNC laser engraver into a laser PEN.

Central Illinois Regional – Staff Spotlight

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Kiran Loewenstein | Senior | Team: 2826  | Lesbian | 2016 – Present

Why did you join LGBTQ+ of FIRST?

I got involved with LGBTQ+ of FIRST through two of my good friends who were part of the organization. After helping promote Women in STEM, I quickly fell into the rabbit-hole of advocacy, and have enthusiastically supported and helped to shape LGBTQ+ of FIRST’s future since joining.

What are you most looking forward to this competition season?

In my fourth and final year, I can’t wait to operate for my team as well as see where these last six weeks have taken me and my team. Selfishly, I’d also love to be an alliance captain at a (season) competition – I want that armband! It’ll also be great to have another year of trying and hopefully not failing to make my autonomous modes work, and to see the other students take a step up at competition.

What is one cool thing you’ve learned lately?

To fly in the Soyuz (a Russian spacecraft), the Russians pour a plaster mold that is fit exactly to the astronaut’s body and spacesuit, and it’s apparently very uncomfortable.

PNW Auburn – Staff Spotlight

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Kira K.| Senior | Team: 5683| Lesbian/Demiromantic | 2016 – Present

How did you get involved with FIRST?

I got involved in FIRST when my best friend suggested I join robotics. Originally, I thought I wouldn’t fit in, but after doing VEX during first semester freshmen year- I knew robotics was somewhere I belong. After joining FRC during second semester, I was having so much fun I realized that robotics- especially programming- is where my heart lies. I’ve had the best past two years with this team, and I’ve learned so much about life. Robotics is truly a great character builder.

What is your favorite experience with LGBTQ+ of FIRST?

My favorite experience with LGBTQ+ of FIRST is all the awesome people I’ve got to meet- whether it be on tumblr, in the discord, or in real life at competitions. It’s always so cool to see people so excited about the initiative and to hear their stories. I think one of the coolest moments is that when I explained about the blog to my mentors, by the end of last season, two of them were comfortable enough to come out.

Recommend a book, movie, album, podcast, etc. to us.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson