STEM Hall Of Fame

Students participating in VEX Competitions encounter “Inspiration All-Stars” each and every day. Some are teachers and mentors who work with individual teams to make a robotics program work. Others are volunteers who help make events happen. They all are devoted individuals who put in many hours of hard work with persistence and passion. Whether these individuals help students achieve goals that may have seemed out of reach or provided opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and solve problems in the worlds of STEM, these all-stars show true leadership and dedication to the VEX Competition experience.
2018Bdeir, Ayah


Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits, the award-winning company that invented the electronic building block and whose mission is to empower kids to be change-makers through invention and creativity. Bdeir is an engineer, interactive artist and one of the leaders of the open hardware movement. An alumna of the MIT Media Lab, and of Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, Bdeir founded littleBits in 2011, after exhibiting a prototype at World Maker Faire in New York City. Bdeir received her masters degree from the MIT Media Lab and undergraduate degrees in Computer Engineering and Sociology from the American University of Beirut.

Wisdom: "STEM is ultimately about one thing and one thing only: Imagination. What if anything you imagine can come to life? Any invention, any product, any solution to a world problem, anything that you can dream up you can make happen."

TITILE: Founder and CEO


2018Leifson, Dane


Named Volunteer of the Year at the 2018 VEX Robotics World Championship; Masters of Education from Weber State University, 2015. Bachelors of Engineering and Technology Education from Utah State University, 2010.

Wisdom: “Fail early, fail often, in order to Succeed Sooner” --Tom Kelley. “What some people call Lucky others call hard work and preparation, but lucky is helpful too!” --Jon Hoy.

TEAM: Team 2131 A-Z

ORGANIZATION: Davis High School

2018Neagle, Jason


Western Kentucky University Industrial Arts Education and Masters in Education Administration. Cisco Certified Academy Instructor; PLTW Engineering Master Teacher.

Wisdom: Induction to the STEM Hall of Fame has been a huge honor, it reflects many hours of work on my students behalf and myself toward a yearlong goal each year. The VEX Robotics program has been the best educational and most student motivating program I have been involved with during my 20 years in education, that is why I coach VEX Robotics teams.

TEAM: Team 6135, 2886, 4104

ORGANIZATION: Central Hardin High School PLTW EC3, John Hardin High School PLTW EC3, North Hardin High School PLTW EC3

2018Nelson, LeRoy


Caltech, MS, Social Science; Occidental College, MAT, Mathematics; Caltech, BS Field Of Study Mathematics; Graduation with Honor, Caltech Honors and Sloan Foundation Scholarships, Associated Students of CIT Outstanding Service Award. Nelson Team Grants provide schools with the resources needed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Founder, Treasurer and Webmaster of Los Angeles Robotics. Serves the public by offering activities for youth and community outreach with a focus on robotics programs throughout Southern California. Retired Software Engineer, teacher, and Regional Support Manager for the REC Foundation.


LOCATION: California, USA
2018Reimer, Nona


VEX IQ Team 2021 won the STEM Research Project Award for their research into robotic devices used to help military veterans with spinal cord injuries at 2015 VEX Worlds. As a result of their research project work and advocacy, the team has been invited to attend the American Airline's Sky Ball in Dallas, Texas, as guests of Oakley's Infinite Hero Organization.

Wisdom: Students learn best when given the opportunity to explore and discover on their own. It reminds me of a quote from child behavior psychologist, Jean Piaget, who said, and I paraphrase, “Every time I teach a child something they could have discovered on their own, I rob them of the opportunity to understand it completely.” I feel strongly it is my role to facilitate the learning process and guide the students in a way that leads them to discover truth on their own. How much more valuable it is to develop hands-on lessons that do just this, than to simply dump information onto students. VEX Robotics is one such tool where students work collaboratively to design and develop a robot to function in a particular way. Seeing my students use programming skills that are beyond my ability tells me we are doing something right when we provide the resources and give access to this kind of learning. It’s education at its best. We are helping students develop the skills and strategies necessary to compete in the 21st century. We are equipping them with the tools for success in jobs that don’t even exist yet!

ORGANIZATION: John S. Malcom Elementary

LOCATION: California, USA
2018Wiegand, Brigitte


Head Coach, named Mentor of the Year at the 2018 VEX IQ World Championship; Provides an inclusive, dynamic STEM experience in a positive, hands-on, collaborative environment. Continues to recruit female and underrepresented students into the FMS Robotics program.

Wisdom: Celebrate a student's success one failure at a time. Give all the high fives!

TEAMS: 98000 A-M, FMS Robotics

ORGANIZATION: Foothills Middle School

LOCATION: Wenatchee, WA
2017Peters, Leslie


Named Mentor of the Year at the 2017 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky.

TEAM: 1666R | Renegade Robotics

LOCATION: California, USA
2017Amaya, Nadine


B.S. Elementary Education, University of Southern Mississippi; M.S. Special Education with Emphasis in Gifted Education, University of Southern Mississippi; Mississippi Association for Gifted Children, Member since 1994; Began School Robotics Program 2015-2016; 2017 OGLE Teacher of the Year.

Wisdom: My second and third graders' success in VEX-IQ Robotics proves that age and size will not prohibit you from being successful as long as you work hard, believe in yourself, and put forth your best effort! While winning is fun, the real reward is what you learn from the experience! Over the past two years I have enjoyed learning alongside my students and their parents on our journey with VEX-IQ Robotics.


ORGANIZATION: Oak Grove Lower Elementary

LOCATION: Mississippi, USA
2017Dilks, Joseph


BA – Rutgers University, Political Science; Law Degree – Rutgers Law School. Retired from the practice of law after 20 years. High School Calculus and Computer Science Teacher since 2003. Cherry Hill East High School Teacher of the Year 2016. Robotics Adviser since club inception in 2009.

Wisdom: My role in our program is to show up and stay out of the way. Although I provide guidance, it is hands off. I provide an environment to allow the students to succeed. Our club is student-led and run. I am extremely proud of the students that have represented our club at the VEX Robotics World Championship every year since its inception.

ORGANIZATION: Cherry Hill High School East

2017Flowers, Woodie


Co-founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology); Distinguished Partner at Olin College; A member of the National Academy of Engineering; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; In 2007, he received a degree honoris causa from Chilean university Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello.

Wisdom: "You have to help straighten things out. Your participation in this robotics competition is the perfect first step. By respecting one another you're laying the foundation for understanding humanity. By going through the rigors of competition and exercising the grit needed to build your robot, you are learning about yourself." -- Induction Speech

TITLE: Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

LOCATION: Massachusetts, USA
2017Hadzic, Ilija


Named Mentor of the Year at 2017 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky.

TEAM: Teams 11336A & B, 54501

ORGANIZATION: Millington Elementary School & Central Middle School

2017Salom, Debbi


Robotics Coordinator and Mentor. Named Volunteer of the Year at the 2017 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky.

TEAM: Team 100A - G, Y & Z and VRC 5297 A & B

ORGANIZATION: Sacred Heart School

LOCATION: California, USA
2017Tani, Daniel


Daniel M. Tani (born February 1, 1961) is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. Although born in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, he considers Lombard, Illinois, to be his hometown. With Peggy Whitson, Tani conducted the 100th spacewalk on the International Space Station.

Wisdom: To look down at the earth and see both very familiar sights like your hometown and unfamiliar sights like the middle of Australia, which is incredibly beautiful, the colors and textures of central Australia are just spectacular, that was a motivator every day for space for me. Even out the little window, it was amazing.

TITLE: NASA Astronaut

TEAM: Team 901B

ORGANIZATION: The American School in Japan

2017Torres, Raul


Bachelors Science with a Major In Mathematics and a Minor in Education from Univ. Of Texas El Paso; Certified In RobotC VEX Graphical, Natural and Textual Language by Carnegie Mellon University the Nations Robotics Academy; Certified In Mathematics and Technology Education 9-12; Teaching Credentials Geometry, Robotics and Automation, Engineering Math and Engineering and Presentation.

Wisdom: I give this award to my Family, my Students, and my Administration because without their support and guidance, none of this would have been possible. But overall, I give this award to God. "I have learned that when you do things to glorify him, you can't go wrong and he will support you, win or lose."

TEAM: 8787 A-D, 8787 Eastwood Mini Troopers, 8585 Mini Troopers | Eastwood Robotics

ORGANIZATION: Eastwood High School

2016Sterling, Debbie


The Founder and CEO of GoldieBlox, the award-winning children’s multimedia company disrupting the pink aisle in toy stores globally and challenging gender stereotypes with the world’s first girl engineer character. Debbie received her degree in Engineering at Stanford University in 2005. Debbie is an engineer, entrepreneur, and one of the leaders in the movement toward empowering girls to build their confidence, dreams and ultimately, their futures. She was named TIME’s "Person of the Moment,” honored by the National Retail Foundation as one of 25 “People Shaping Retail’s Future,” and was recently added to Fortune Magazine’s prestigious “40 Under 40” list. In 2015, Debbie was inducted as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship.

TITLE: Founder and CEO of GoldieBlox

LOCATION: California, USA
2016Rodriguez, Armando


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.

TEAM: Teams 7041A, 7041B & 2355C

LOCATION: Puerto Rico, USA
2016Aston, David


BSc Auckland University 1978; Member New Zealand Institute of Physics; Head of Science Glenfield College Auckland NZ; Robotics Teacher at Glenfield College GCEC 2918

Wisdom: One of my first VEX robotics students told me that, “A robot is never finished.” She is right. If you think you are finished, you will only find others improving and you get left behind. Always give other teams help if you can, this enables their robots to do better. You may have to alliance with them and if their robot performs well so does yours.

TEAM: Team 2918 | GCEC

ORGANIZATION: Glenfield College

LOCATION: Auckland, New Zealand
2016Ballard, Greg


23-year Marine veteran; 48th Mayor of Indianapolis (2008-2015) and creator of the Indianapolis City Championship for VEX Robotics; Visiting Fellow at University of Indianapolis.

Wisdom: Robotics competitions are not only about increasing STEM knowledge. They provide avenues to learn about team building, strategy, persistence, collaboration, how to win and lose gracefully, and risk taking. I’ve seen so many students’ lives changed as a result of these competitions. It is humbling to have been a part of it all.

TITLE: Mayor of Indianapolis (2008-2016)

2016Halsey, Dianne


MA Education, University of California, Davis; Bachelor Of Technology, Aircraft Maintenance, Vaughn College of Aeronautics; AAS Avionics, Vaughn College of Aeronautics; Teaching Credentials - Multiple Subject, Industrial Arts, Mathematics, C.T.E., PLTW Training

Wisdom: You should never stop learning. Let’s close the gap on engineering. "Inspiring engineers, one student at a time!"

TEAMS: Teams 4768 A-Z; 824 A-F | Grizzlybots & Armijo High School Robotics

ORGANIZATION: Grange Middle School & Armijo Armijo High School

LOCATION: California , USA
2016Mortimore, Richard


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!

TEAM: Team 1353; NYIT | The Robodalers & The Bears

ORGANIZATION: Farmingdale High School & New York Institute of Technology

2016Tui, Osa


Named Volunteer of the Year at the 2016 VEX Robotics World Championship, which was held in Louisville, Kentucky; Former chair of the planning committee for the international VEX Robotics Summer Games.
2016Whitehead, Sherri


B.S. Finance/Economics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB); Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Certified Teacher: Design & Modeling, Automation & Robotics; and Green Architecture AMSTI Trainer

Wisdom: Eight years ago I left a career in finance to teach math at the middle school level. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students because they are our future. Never did I realize how much I would learn from them. We are in this journey together. While I am there to guide and direct, I love that my students are given the opportunity to learn about STEM through hands-on applications that VEX Robotics and PLTW provide. My students the real heroes!

TITLE: Teams 10740, B, C, D, E, and F

TEAM: Teams 10740, B, C, D, E, and F

ORGANIZATION: Oak Mountain Middle School

2015Barker, Aaron


Named Volunteer of the Year at the 2015 VEX Robotics World Championship. Received an Event Coordinator Achievement Award at the 2018 VRC Minnesota State Championship.

ORGANIZATION: Minnesota 360

LOCATION: Minnesota, USA
2015Borg, Anita


Dr. Anita Borg (1949-2003) a unique capacity to mix technical expertise and fearless vision that inspired, motivated and moved women to embrace technology instead of fearing or ignoring it. She touched and changed the lives of countless women in the computing fields and beyond. She is responsible for including women in the technological revolution – not as bystanders, but as active participants and leaders.

TITLE: Visionary & Founder of Anita Borg Institute

LOCATION: California, USA
2015Cinnamon, Karen


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.

TEAM: Teams 4303, 1231, 10300

ORGANIZATION: Forest Park High School, Benton Middle School, Ashland Elementary School

2015Matlack, Kristi


B.A. Elementary Education, Bowling Green State University; M.S. Education, Marygrove College; 2013 North Union Teacher of the Year; Project Lead the Way Gateway Teacher

Wisdom: Enjoy the journey. I am honored to have received this award on my journey to provide meaningful learning experiences for my students. I tell my teams and encourage others to enjoy the journey too. Celebrate your accomplishments but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.

TEAM: Teams 4810 & 10021

ORGANIZATION: North Union Middle School

2015Medina, Ana


Named Teacher of the Year at the 2015 VEX Robotics World Championship.

TEAM: Team 2355B & Team 7041B

LOCATION: Puerto Rico, USA
2015Pearman, James


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."

TEAM: Multiple Teams

ORGANIZATION: La Salle High School, Pasadena

LOCATION: California, USA
2015Wilcke, Winfried


PhD in experimental nuclear physics, 120+ publications in nuclear heavy-ion & muon nuclear physics, computer architecture & energy storage at IBM Research, HAL computer (CTO) and U. Rochester. Key role in creation of distributed memory supercomputers, creation of 64-bit SPARC architecture & experimental data storage systems. Founder of "Beyond Lithium Ion" conference & Battery 500 project. Interests: flying, sailing & scuba.

Wisdom: Good things happen to those who see opportunities, not to those who see obstacles.

TITLE: Sr. Manager, Nanoscale Science & Technology; Distinguished RSM IBM Research Division

LOCATION: California, USA
2015Winters, Jay


Taught automotive technology at Sultana for over 20 years. The robotics program started as an after school club in 2009. Helped Expand robotics program at the school and participation at events and in leagues in the region.

TEAM: 1879A

ORGANIZATION: Sultana High School

LOCATION: California, USA
2014Ablett, Todd


Journeyman Electrician BCIT; B.Sc University of British Columbia; B.Ed University of British Columbia; Prime Minister's Teaching Excellence Award; Queen Elisabeth Diamond Jubilee Award.

Wisdom: I really have been privileged to work with so many great students and adults, not only from the Robosavages, but from all over the world. Teach your students to be fearless about failure. Success is a often bumpy and twisty road. And if you are ever in Vancouver, come see us!

TEAM: Team 2 | The Robosavages

ORGANIZATION: Gladstone Secondary School

LOCATION: British Columbia, Canada
2014Chee, Samuel


Named Volunteer of the Year at the 2014 VEX Robotics World Championship.
LOCATION: Singapore
2014Diberardino, Chip


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.

TEAM: 929, 9290 | Hereford Zone Robotics

ORGANIZATION: Hereford High School

2014Fairbank, Patrick


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.

TEAM: 254 | The Cheesy Poofs

ORGANIZATION: Bellarmine College Preparatory

LOCATION: California, USA
2014Hudson, Maureen


B.S. Interior Design/Architecture & Resource Management, Virginia Tech; 2014 Advisor of Technology Student Association National Champions; 2014 Manatee County Bright Star Teaching Award

Wisdom: VEX Robotics has allowed my builders, writers, creators, problem solvers and speakers to all work together and learn from each other. I was shocked and honored when I won an award because of their dedication and hard work! They rise to the occasion no matter how high my expectations.

TEAMS:7222x, 7222z, 2711 and 2711b

ORGANIZATION: Haile Middle School

2014Matos, Felix


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."

TEAM: Team 7020A | RoboChamp

LOCATION: Puerto Rico, USA

2014Mimlitch, Bob


B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Texas Tech; Entrepreneur and inventor of more than 750 patents; multiple patents in advanced thermal management techniques; co-creator of the VEX Robotics product line & the VEX Robotics Competition; co-inventor of the HEXBUG micro robotic creatures; revolutionized robotics motor controllers with the invention of the "Victor".

Wisdom: When working on an engineering challenge, the wrong approach is to go with the first idea. There is an infinite number of ways to solve a problem. The trick is to spend time upfront making sure to find the simplest solution; hence, innovation happens first. Simple solutions are always easier to execute than complicated ones.

TITLE: Co-Founder, Vice President, and Chief Technology Officer of Innovation First International

2014Norman, Tony


B.S., Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M; University; Entrepreneur and inventor with more than 750 patents worldwide; Co-inventor of the HEXBUG brand of micro robotic creatures; Creator of the VEX Robotics product line & the VEX Robotics Competition; Provides global leadership to position the 200+ person company at the forefront of the robotics education, consumer toys, and computer server racking industry.

Wisdom: "Great engineers can do more than just engineering. They also make great business owners, marketers, politicians and teachers. Engineers excel at solving problems regardless of the discipline. Your ability to solve problems is your most valuable asset in life."

TITLE: Co-Founder, President and CEO of Innovation First International

2014Viernes, Conan


Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude, University of Washington; Master’s Degree in Counseling, M.Ed., Heritage University; 8 year service award at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Advanced Network Technology Development Group

Wisdom: Spend your time and energy wisely; focus is the key. My motto: Be good at a lot of things and exceptional at one or two!

TEAM: About 80 different teams served, VEX IQ Challenge and VRC

ORGANIZATION: University of Washington GEAR UP program.

LOCATION: Washington, USA
2013Bostick, Thomas P.


Bachelor of Science, United States Military Academy; Master's in Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University. Graduate, U.S. Army War College; 53rd U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

TITLE: U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

2013Kelly, David


B.S. University of New Hampshire; M.Ed. Plymouth State College; 2009 Chesapeake; Regional Woodie Flowers Award; 2011 Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical.

Wisdom: It is an incredibly challenging problem to create something which is elegantly simple.

ORGANIZATION: Pembroke Academy

LOCATION: New Hampshire, USA
2013Musil, Jim


Named Volunteer of the Year at the 2013 VEX Robotics World Championship.

ORGANIZATION: Omaha Public Schools

LOCATION:Location: Nebraska, USA
2013Proulx, Roger & Martha


Roger: Saint Anselm College; US Army Veteran. Martha: Daniel Webster College, Saint Leo University MBA, MEd.; New CTE Teacher of Excellence 2011, Manatee County. Florida TSA Board of Directors, AAUW. Roger: Bradenton Branch, President-Elect, Epsilon Pi Tau. High School Volunteer of the Year 2012 -- Manatee County.

Wisdom: If you are doing the right thing for students, then you are doing the right thing. Roger and I truly enjoyed our time together working VEX events in Florida and with TSA.

TEAM: 5900

ORGANIZATION: Bayshore High School

2013Rodriguez, Daniela


Blessed Trinity Catholic School; Research focused on using brainwaves to move robotic equipment, empowering mobility-challenged persons to use technology to be more independent; Won "The Best in Fair" at the 2013 Annual Florida State Science and Engineering Fair. Recognized by The National Society of Engineers and The Florida Foundation for Future Scientists.

Wisdom: True courage is continuing to travel, without a map. Receiving the STEM Heroes hall of fame award was truly humbling and I am very grateful. VEX Robotics is an incredible platform for creating and learning. At the VEX Robotics World Championship I met so many passionate kids and adults from around the world who love robotics and science just as much as I do. I feel that they are the true example of real courage.


2013Sadler, Stephen


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.

TEAM: 5194 | East Barnet 1

ORGANIZATION: East Barnet High School

LOCATION: East Barnet, UK
2013Sanghi, Steven


Bachelor's degree in Engineering, Punjab Engineering College; Master's in Engineering, University of Massachusetts; Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Microchip Technology, Inc. at Silicon Storage Technology, Inc. ; Credited with transforming Microchip into a billion-dollar company specializing in microcontrollers.

Wisdom: I am honored to be included among this esteemed group of individuals who recognize that it is our responsibility to prepare the next generation of engineers, innovators, and scientists, so they can define new technology to create a stronger economy through education.

TITLE: Founder and CEO, Microchip Technology

TEAM: This is cutting edge stuff, bringing the best of the best together, and what I hope is that we will excite enough youngsters to meet the requirements that the nation will need.

2012Alessi, Alan


Teacher at Caribbean School in Puerto Rico. Named Teacher of the Year at the 2012 VEX Robotics World Championship, which was held in Anaheim, California.

TEAM: Team 2273

ORGANIZATION: Caribbean School

LOCATION: Puerto Rico
2012Baker Lamb, Betsy


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.


TEAM: 35, 36, 37

ORGANIZATION: Cranbrook Schools

2012Cheslock, Greg


WFRV-TV Subway Restaurants Terrific Teacher of the Week Award; St. Mary Central High School Distinguished Service Award; "Celebrate Volunteers" Daniel P. Spalding Volunteer Educator of the Year Award.

Wisdom: I have always been interested in electronics and mechanical things. Looking at the VEX Robotics kit, we knew this was it, the platform for our club. Our students have been designing, building, and learning STEM through VEX ever since. We are very proud of them.

TEAM: 1200

ORGANIZATION: St. Mary Central High School

LOCATION: Wisconsin, USA
2012Connolly, Megan


B.A. Mathematics; Sec. Ed. Math Certification; Served as principal software engineer for UNISYS and technical lead on Man-Machine Interface Component of UNIX/C Message Switch. Director of Technology and Advisor to Robotics Teams, The Haverford School.

Wisdom: As a lifelong learner and lover of math and problem solving, I want to share that excitement and fun with young people. Problems we face today need smart, confident, creative, and collaborative teams working on them, and robotics is an excellent way to prepare tomorrow's problem solvers.

TEAM: Team 169 | The Cavalry

ORGANIZATION: The Haverford School

LOCATION: Pennsylvania, USA
2012Kimura, Art & Rene


Education Specialists, Hawaii Space Grant Consortium (NASA), Living Treasures of Hawaii Award, Scholastic robotics since 2000. Art: University of Hawaii (Manoa), M.Ed., NASA Teacher in Space Project (Hawaii), Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. Rene: University of Hawaii (Manoa) B.A. History. Women in Aerospace National Educator Award.

Wisdom: We are so humbled to be able to represent the many hundreds of mentors, volunteers, teachers, and coaches in Hawaii who give so much time, enthusiasm, and vision to students--all of whom are our 'Volunteers of the Year.'

TEAM: Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, University of Hawaii at Manoa

2012Kotb, Miral


Degree in Computer Science, Columbia University; Founder of iLuminate, a wearable dance system which enables the programmer to switch lights off and on with music; Began career as a software developer with a passion for coding, while pursuing dream to dance professionally.

Wisdom: I wrote software since I was 9, and danced since I could walk, but always separated them. I worked in technology, with a dream I'd quit and dance professionally. Then, I was diagnosed with cancer, and I couldn't dance after surgery; so, I got better at writing software. Once I recovered, I left my job and started dancing again--now bringing dance and technology together.
2012Lavery, Dave


B.S., Computer Science, Virginia Polytechnics Institute. M.S., Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence, George Mason. Program Executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA, oversight of design & development for next gen. Mars exploration spacecraft. Responsible for 2 Mars Rover missions & Euro-U.S. Mars Rover missions. Lead creation of 2016 Mars Rover Mission & Mars Advanced Technology Program. Founded & directs NASA Robotics Alliance Project.

Wisdom: When I was younger I admired people like Neil Armstrong, Chuck Yeager, and John Glenn. Their exciting accomplishments inspired me and led to my career in space exploration. Today, I continue to be inspired and humbled by the achievements of those around me. These Hall of Fame inductees will inspire the next generation of heroes, and I am honored to be included among them.
LOCATION: Washington, DC, USA
2012Nash, Bart


Attended Western Michigan University

Wisdom: I have always been interested in STEM, and wanted to pass on that love to students to show them how fun STEM can be.

TEAM: Carver Middle School


2012Osheroff, Douglas D.


California Institute of Technology; Graduate studies at Cornell; During his senior year in high school, he constructed a 100 keV X-ray machine. Winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of superfluidity in helium-3; awarded jointly to also include David M. Lee and Robert C. Richardson.

Wisdom: I was a good student, but only excelled in physics and chemistry. I was intellectually rather lazy, and in high school would take a free class period so I could get my homework done, freeing evenings for my many projects. I had the most trouble in math, and only through considerable trauma gradually improved from a grade of C+ to A+ over three years.
2012Phillips, Greg


Multiple colleges and universities.

Wisdom: I became involved in the VEX program because it is the best platform to deliver STEM at the high school level. Students acquire skills that catapult them through university and beyond.

TEAM: 1114

ORGANIZATION: Governor Simcoe Secondary School

LOCATION: Ontario, Canada
2011Adaman, Andrew


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.


TEAM: Knights of the Olde Robotics - Team KTOR

ORGANIZATION: Multiple Schools

LOCATION: Pennsylvania, USA
2011Beatty, Jenny


Master's Degree, Public Health; Served as a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service. On the board for AmeriCorps.

Wisdom: I have been involved in the 'S' in STEM for much of my adult life, having chosen the health field because I wanted to make a difference in the world. I was drawn to robotics because of the opportunity for students, especially for problem solving, teamwork, and opening doors to higher education.
2011Chappelear, Lewis


Co-Chair, California Department of Education STEM Task Force; Member of both the California Teacher Advisory Council and the California Council of Science and Technology

Wisdom: It isn't just me--it's the thousands of kids, parents, teachers and community members whom I've worked with over the years that join me in this Hall of Fame. The cheering from my team was so loud when my name was announced, I could barely understand what was happening.

TEAM: Teams 628 and 1469

ORGANIZATION: James Monroe High School and Holmes International Middle School

LOCATION: California, USA
2011Glick, Chuck


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.

TEAM: 169 Team NAR | The Cavalry; MooseEagles

ORGANIZATION: The Haverford School. North American Robotics

LOCATION: Pennsylvania, USA
2011Rayment, Ken & Liz


Liz: B.S., Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences, University of California at San Diego, and M.S. in Petroleum Engineering, Colorado School of Mines; Ken: BS Mechanical Engineering; Both are recipients of the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award, since 2008.

Wisdom: We want more people to experience the fun of STEM, especially math.


2010Balcom, Lance


B.A. Sc. Mechanical; Career in system integration, aircraft accident investigation and various start-ups; Founder, Pacific Youth Robotics Society.

Wisdom: I think the world could be better if everyone learned collaborative engineering skills in grade school. It's not about robots, or even the engineering, physics, math, or programming. It's about working together as a team.

ORGANIZATION: Pacific Youth Robotics Society

LOCATION: British Columbia, Canada
2010Franc, David


Electronics engineer specializing in radio communications at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Wisdom: I see college graduates with excellent theory backgrounds, but little or no hands-on technical skills. A robotics team provides that to youth in an environment where they can make mistakes and learn. I want to give youth an opportunity to gain life skills that will help them succeed in any job.

TEAM: 24 | Super Sonic Sparks

ORGANIZATION: Carroll County 4-H

2010Rhoads, Steve


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.

ORGANIZATION: Multiple Schools

LOCATION: Pennsylvania, USA
2010Sanchez, Monica Maria


Master's Degree, Electronic Engineering and Computers; Doctoral Degree, Information and Communications Technology; Executive Director of Fundacion Global AC&T; Colombia; Conducted research in multiple areas of education, robotics and technology

Wisdom: All my life I have loved math and engineering. I loved school, and always said 'I want to be an engineer.' I am so grateful to my family for my having been able to attend college and pursue my dream of working to advance STEM education in my country of Colombia. >
2010Santa Cruz, Enrique R.


Founder of the school's Robotics & Automation Program; Instructor, Robotics & Automation

Wisdom: As a high school dropout, I want to acknowledge my greatest instructors--my three uncles, Joe, George and Anthony Rivera. Their journeyman trade skills which they taught me as their apprentice allowed me to pass on their knowledge to the students I teach now.

TEAM: Team 52 | Walden Grove Red Wolves

ORGANIZATION: Walden Grove/Sahuarita High School

2010Schucker, Foster


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.

ORGANIZATION: Multiple Schools

LOCATION: Pennsylvania, USA
2009Lopez, Wence


Named Volunteer of the Year at the 2009 VEX Robotics World Championship.



LOCATION: Puerto Rico
2009Potgieter, Johan


Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Natal, Durban; Assoc. Professor of Mechatronics & Robotics and oversees the Mechatronics and Robotics Research Group

Wisdom: Being able to help young people achieve their goals is so rewarding. How could I not get involved? As an engineering professor, I live for STEM, and seek to share my interest with others.
2009Schulte, Jim


B.S., Mathematics, Creighton University; A founding member of the CREATE Foundation; Principal and partner in several companies; Former VP of Information Technology at ConAgra Foods

Wisdom: As the head of IT for a large multi-national corporation, I saw how the rest of the world competes for good technology jobs. I realized we in the U.S. needed to increase our interest and involvement in STEM. Robotics competitions are the best way I have found to do this.

ORGANIZATION: Create Foundation

2009Siegert, Chris


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.

TEAM: 599 and 1508 | Robodox and LancerBots

ORGANIZATION: Granada Hills Charter High School and Grant High School

LOCATION: California, USA
2008Cheng, Kin Sing


Applied Computing degree.

Wisdom: I am very honored 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.

TEAM: 30

ORGANIZATION: Ning Po No 2 College

LOCATION: Hong Kong, China
2008McIntyre, Nancy


M.A., Education; 23-year education professional as teacher, coach, and administrator

Wisdom: As a science teacher, it is important for me to find ways to encourage students to look at many different avenues for study beyond high school. Exposing them to STEM will help them in whatever they decide to study in the future.

TEAM: 38 and 1138 | Eagle Engineering

ORGANIZATION: Chaminade College Preparatory

LOCATION: California, USA
2008Mills, Ralph D.


Ph.D., English; VP, The Small Manufacturers' Institute; Served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Sponsored Programs, California State University Chancellor's Office

Wisdom: I came to understand that STEM education, beginning early, is essential for the preparation of many young people for purposeful and satisfying lives in the 21st century. A highly-skilled STEM workforce is essential to maintain and advance our economy and our civilization

ORGANIZATION: Small Manufacturers Institute

LOCATION: California, USA
2008Shraibati, Tarek


27-year educator in the School of Engineering, California State University, Northridge, CA; Member of the Board of LA Robotics and the FUTURE Foundation

Wisdom: We live in an increasingly technology-dependent society. If we want to be a technological leader, then we must increase the number of young people going into engineering. As the folks at NASA say, "Failure is not an option," when it comes to this critical national need.

TEAM: 1070 | Royal Robotrons

ORGANIZATION: Louisville High School

LOCATION: California, USA
2008Vanderway, Joseph


B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; FIRST Woodie Flowers Finalist - Los Angeles, 2007; FIRST Regional Outstanding Volunteer - 2009

Wisdom: I believe the way to solve our problems is to move forward, to learn, to grow and expand our understanding of the universe and ourselves. The best way I can think of doing this is to encourage young people to be curious, to want to know, and to learn to work together. Competitive robotics does just that.

TEAM: Team 599 | Robodox

ORGANIZATION: Granada Hills Charter High

LOCATION: California, USA