Mentor of the Year

STEM Hall of Fame

Mentor of the Year

The Members of the REC Foundation Mentor of the Year area of the STEM Hall of Fame are recognized by their team members and peers as having helped students achieve goals that were seemingly out of reach. There is no single standard set of goals; rather, the exceptional individuals recognized in this Hall as exemplary mentors have demonstrated and coached development in various areas of academics, hands-on skills, life skills, and both individual and team achievement.

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This individual does not need to be an engineer, scientist, or technologist; however, in every case she/he is seen as a role model and a leader. Inductees are nominated by the students on their team(s) with a written submission detailing how the mentor is respected as “someone who makes a difference” in the lives of students and the life of their team. These extraordinary mentors show students new ways to expand their knowledge, new pathways to advance their studies and career, and new ways to solve problems in the worlds of STEM.

Brian McGee Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Organization
Location
Texas, USA
Inducted
2018

Powers

Wisdom

Brigitte Wiegand Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Organization
Location
Washington, USA
Inducted
2018

Powers

Wisdom

Leslie Peters Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
1666R | Renegade Robotics
Organization
Location
California, USA
Inducted
2017

Powers

BA, Mathematics, Princeton University
Fellow of the Society of Actuaries
2nd degree black belt in Aikido

Wisdom

I truly love learning and in turn sharing that knowledge with others. It's so exciting for me to see kids understand something that they didn't know before. I strive to be a role model for girls in the sciences, and believe I can make a difference to them by making STEM fields more approachable and fun. My greatest joy is when a student says, "Oh, that was so easy!" I am incredibly honored to have received this award; thank you.

Dr. Ilija Hadzic Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
11336A & B, 54501
Organization
Millington Elementary School & Central Middle School
Location
New Jersey, USA
Inducted
2017

Powers

PhD Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, USA M.S.
Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, USA B.S.
Electrical Engineering, University of Novi Sad, Serbia

Wisdom

If robotics competitions inspired only one child on each team to pursue an engineering career in their life, we would together win more than any individual team can win at any competition.

Richard Mortimore Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Team 1353; NYIT | The Robodalers & The Bears
Organization
Farmingdale High School & New York Institute of Technology
Location
New York, USA
Inducted
2016

Powers

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, New York Institute of Technology; VEX U 2013 Winner of the Sportsmanship Award – NYIT; VEX U 2015 Winner of the Design Award – NYIT; VEX U 2016 Winner of the Amaze Award – NYIT; VEX U 2016 Winner of the #1 in Skills Challenge – NYIT

Wisdom

In 2011, I pursued my career in Mechanical Engineering at NYIT and wanted to find a concept to use my mechanical background in which I applied them to VEX Robotics. I am very grateful for being nominated for this award, and was actually very surprised! Thank you to all of the teams that I help Mentor each year, and thank you to my family!

Armando Rodriguez Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Teams 7041A, 7041B & 2355C
Organization
Location
Puerto Rico, USA
Inducted
2016

Powers

BS Civil Engineering, University of Puerto Rico; Juris Doctor (Magana Cum Laude) - Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico Law School; Past President of the Board of Directors Armor Que Sana, Inc.; Distinguished Collegiate from the College of Engineers & Land Surveyors of Puerto Rico; Past President College of Engineers & Land Surveyors of Puerto Rico - Ponce Chapter; Member of the Board of Directors Colegio Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, Ponce, Puerto Rico; Robotics Mentor since 2012.

Wisdom

I feel blissful and honored with this recognition. Sincere and endless gratitude to all the kids, parents and everyone who's participated in this adventure. Remember, it is not an individual endeavor, but a collective effort. Life is an infinite staircase in which we have the opportunity to take place for a small segment of it. If we want the human race to progress, let our actions enable those who come after to begin their journey on the step next to our last.

James Pearman Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Multiple Teams
Organization
La Salle High School, Pasadena
Location
California, USA
Inducted
2015

Powers

BS (Honors) Middlesex Polytechnic 1985. VP Technology for Robomatter. VRC Mentor and Coach, team 8888, Pasadena CA. Software evangelist.

Wisdom

A student recently sent me an email which said "Man programming is hard!", my reply would be “Yes it is, all engineering is hard, but the harder the problem is that you solve, the greater the reward will be.”

Karen Cinnamon Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Teams 4303, 1231, 10300
Organization
Forest Park HS, Benton MS, Ashland ES
Location
Virginia, USA
Inducted
2015

Powers

B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, with a major concentration in Robotics. M.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Dayton.

Wisdom

I am humbled and grateful to VEX Robotics and the REC Foundation for the opportunity to share my passion for robotics through this incredible program. My students inspire me every day, their dedication, enthusiasm, and energy are infectious and it is a joy to be their mentor. The confidence they gain, the skills they learn and the practical knowledge they acquire through robotics is unparalleled to any other school activity.

Chip Diberardino Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
929, 9290 | Hereford Zone Robotics
Organization
Hereford High School
Location
Maryland, USA
Inducted
2014

Powers

BS Electrical Engineering 1984, Virginia Tech; MS Electrical & Computer Engineering 1987, Johns Hopkins University; Robotics Engineer since 1999, General Dynamics Land Systems; Classroom Mentor (since 2006) & VEX Robotics Mentor (since 2008) , Hereford Zone Robotics - Hereford Middle School & High School, Baltimore County Schools, Parkton MD; FIRST Robotics Mentor since 2013, Highland School, Warrenton VA.

Wisdom

I am continually impressed by the creativity, technical abilities and attitude of the robotics students, both in the classroom and the robotics clubs. I am an engineer in the field of robotics a also a STEM mentor. The robotics students and club members gain experience solving the same types of technical challenges as professional engineers. It is exciting to help guide these future engineers and scientists.

Felix Matos Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Team 7020A | RoboChamp
Organization
Location
Puerto Rico, USA
Inducted
2014

Powers

Mechanical Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Puerto Rico; 22 years of experience in the hospitality industry as a Restaurant Manager; Robotics Mentor since 2013

Wisdom

It is an honor to receive the 2014 Mentor of the Year Award. I would like to share this award with my incredible TEAM. It has been an unforgettable journey, working with great and enthusiastic kids that were always eager to learn and give the best of themselves, and at the same time having a group of parents that were supportive and committed. We are more than a team; we became a FAMILY. My personal motto: “ There is always room for improvement.”

Patrick Fairbank Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
254 | The Cheesy Poofs
Organization
Bellarmine College Preparatory
Location
California, USA
Inducted
2013

Powers

BASc. Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo
FRC Woodie Flowers Finalist Award winner

Wisdom

I had some fantastic mentors when I was participating in robotics in high school, and wanting to have that same impact is why I’m involved with VEX now. I also have had great mentors since, and believe everyone should seek out and learn from mentors at all points in life.

Stephen Sadler Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
5194 | East Barnet 1
Organization
East Barnet HS
Location
East Barnet, UK
Inducted
2013

Powers

B.A (Hons) in Industrial Design and Technology with Education, Loughborough University, UK. STEM Ambassador for The Royal Academy of Engineering Digital Design and Technology Teacher of the Year 2013. VEX Robotics UK Teacher of the Year 2013. VEX Robotics World Mentor of the Year 2013. VEX Robotics UK Tournament Champions 3 years running (undefeated)

Wisdom

My students' commitment to Robotics at East Barnet School is second to none. The EBS Robotics STEM Club has grown to become THE most popular club in the school. My students are dedicated, motivated, focused and extremely passionate. Thank you to VEX and all my students. Teaching robotics brings excitement to Technology in the classroom. ‘Learning is even MORE fun’. It’s an honour for me to receive Mentor of the Year 2013.

Greg Cheslock Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
1200
Organization
St. Mary Central HS
Location
Wisconsin, USA
Inducted
2012

Powers

Electronics Technology - Fox Valley Technical College
Daniel P. Spalding Volunteer Educator of the Year - 2012
St. Mary Catholic Schools STEM Education Club Advisor

Wisdom

I enjoy helping young people explore their interests in technology and engineering including robotics, electronics, and aviation sciences. It is exciting to know that many of them will someday become engineers and take hold of real opportunities to help make life better for people through discovery and invention.

Betsy Baker Lamb Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
35, 36, 37
Organization
Cranbrook Schools
Location
Michigan, USA
Inducted
2012

Powers

B.A. History, Chatham College
Masters in Curriculum & Instruction, Michigan State

Wisdom

I always say robotics is my therapy; it keeps me in touch with the students. I am living proof you do not need to be an engineer or programmer to run a robotics program. Students take the VEX kits and run.  All they need is a little support and encouragement.

Andrew Adaman Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Knights of the Olde Robotics - Team KTOR
Organization
Multiple Schools
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Inducted
2011

Powers

Mechanical Engineering
Founded Team KTOR
Continues outreach through the "Knight School" to teach students and adults concepts and uses of the VEX Robotics Design System

Wisdom

When I received this award the first thing I did was call people who had mentored me and thank them.  I became involved in robotics in high school.  After experiencing all the good it has done for me, I decided to keep paying it forward.

Chuck Glick Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Team #169.  Team NAR | The Cavalry.  MooseEagles
Organization
The Haverford School.  North American Robotics
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Inducted
2011

Powers

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Temple University
VRC College Division 2010 -- Founder of Team KTOR, winner of the Excellence Award
VRC College Division 2013 - Founder of Team NAR, winner of the Excellence Award

Wisdom

After working with my first VEX kit in 2005, I instantly knew I wanted to pursue a career in engineering.  I was honestly surprised at being nominated for this award.  I work every day to prove to myself that I deserved receiving it.

Foster Schucker Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Multiple Teams
Organization
Multiple Schools
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Inducted
2010

Powers

A builder and a maker and part of the start of the computer age
Held the initial VEX Robotics Championship Delaware State Championship in 2012 - the first ever to take place in a C5 Hangar
Co-creator of STEM Robotics, a 501c3 non-profit organization, with Steve Rhoades

Wisdom

The best part is getting kids excited with hands-on STEM--the 'ah-ha' moment as they become fully engaged.  The second best part is when parents become engaged too, encouraging their child to pursue robotics.  Seeing them head towards a STEM-based career makes all the work worth it.

Steve Rhoads Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
Multiple Teams
Organization
Multiple Schools
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
Inducted
2010

Powers

Undergraduate degree, Economics, and an MBA from RPI
Former US Air Force Captain and pilot of the KC-135-A
Co-creator of STEM Robotics, a 501c3 non-profit organization, with Foster Shucker

Wisdom

My primary interest is in inspiring kids to pursue STEM careers. Every kid--and I mean EVERY kid--I have worked with becomes excited about learning more math, science and engineering... to win in competitions. These wins lead kids to a better self-image and a more enterprising attitude.

Chris Siegert Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
599 and 1508 | Robodox and LancerBots
Organization
Granada Hills Charter HS and Grant HS
Location
California, USA
Inducted
2009

Powers

Retired engineer with 25 years at Lockheed Martin in avionics and control systems engineering
Awarded the Lockheed Martin Engineer of the Year award in 1981
Robotics mentor for 10+ years
Maintains "Vamfun" - a robotics blog

Wisdom

I did some mentoring within a school system.  Then, I figured out that robotics was an area where I could apply my professional engineering background and also help kids learn.  Kids love to be around VEX robots, and there are not many platforms that integrate all the STEM elements so nicely in one package.

Kin Sing Cheng Mentor of the Year

Stats

Team(s)
30
Organization
Ning Po No 2 College
Location
Hong Kong, China
Inducted
2008

Powers

Applied Computing degree

Wisdom

I am very honoured to receive the title of “Mentor of the Year 2008”. It is an unexpected bonus to me and my students. It shows us that hard work really pays. All of us enjoyed the process of preparation and participation, and considered it a really rewarding experience.