Here you can see some of our highlighted Speakers and learn a little about them!
FIRST Canada and Team 1114
Karthik Kangasabapathy has always had a passion for education. While mentoring students in robotics, he began to realize that many of the education and career decisions being made by young people were often shaped by external factors as opposed to their own passions, causing them to take paths that led them to unintended destinations. Throughout his career, he has worked to help students discover what they are truly passionate about. Karthik spent 9 years at Innovation First International, where he was responsible for exciting young people about STEAM (Science, Technology, Education, Arts & Mathematics) education, via participation in the VEX Robotics Competition. A mathematician by trade, he has designed competition robotics games that have been played by over 75,000 teams of students across the globe. He has won numerous awards for his dedication to furthering robotics education, including the prestigious Woodie Flowers Finalist Award for exemplary mentoring and being a positive role model for high school students through the FIRST Robotics Competition. He served as the lead mentor for FRC Team 1114 from 2004-2016 and now acts as a team advisor. During his tenure with the team they won the FIRST World Championship and were inducted into the FIRST Hall of Fame for winning the Championship Chairman's Award. Karthik now works for FIRST Canada as the Manager of Operations, Digital Strategy & Analytics. He also hosts various global robotics events, having worked with media personalities such Mythbusters' Grant Imahara and Kari Byron, gave an international recognized TEDx talk, and has hosted televised robotics specials on ESPN and CBS
Co-Founder and CTO of Takataka Plastics. PhD student at the University of California Berkeley studying Mechanical Engineering and Development Engineering. National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.
FIRST Hall of Fame Teams
Representative members from Championship Chairman’s FIRST Hall of Fame teams, including 1816, 1902, 1114 and 3132. These members have extensive experience and insight into the chairman’s submission process and were involved in the development of the new Executive Summary questions.
Biomedical Engineer and PhD Candidate at University of California, Davis
Christina Rohlf is a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group at the University of California, Davis. In 2015, Christina received a degree in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University with a focus in musculoskeletal biomechanics. During her undergraduate degree she participated in several research projects to advance musculoskeletal health in both human and animal subjects. Her research included studying mechanical failures that result in revision surgeries of total knee and hip replacements for human patients and the reason for toggle pin failures in canines. As a graduate student she has continued to apply biomedical engineering principles to further equine health by studying risk factors for musculoskeletal injury of show jumping horses. Christina became interested in pursuing a career in engineering after participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition at her high school. She has continued to serve as a competition volunteer, judge, and team mentor for 5458: Digital Minds throughout her undergraduate and graduate studies. After completing her PhD education, Christina would like to pursue a career in academia in order to inspire and teach other engineering students and continue advancing the veterinary field by designing orthopedic implants and prosthetics.
Exec Director, White Mountain Science Inc.
Bill received his BS in Physics from Binghamton University in 1992. He received his MAT in Curriculum and Instruction from Cornell in 1997. He received his MS in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University in 2014. A former high school Physics teacher, Bill has worked in and with public schools for over twenty years. His passion is for supporting learning through projects. Through his career, Bill has collaborated on many educational projects and programs with a wide range of local, regional, and national schools, organizations and businesses including NH SAU 35, NH SAU 84, North County Educational Services, New Hampshire Science Teachers Association, Plymouth State University, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation's Christa McAuliffe program; Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, Lemelson MIT's InvenTeams, iCreate to Educate, Sparkfun Electronics, LEGO Education, and National Instruments.
1678 Citrus Circuits
Lead Technical Mentor for Citrus Circuits, Engineering Manager at NovaSource building solar cleaning robots, and 20 year FIRST participant.
Excitement and Fun
Long time FIRSTer, life long FunHaver
FIRST Team 1816, "The Green Machine"
Yoji Shimizu, PhD, has been involved with FIRST since 2005. He currently volunteers as a mentor and Master of Ceremonies for FIRST regional events in the upper Midwest of the United States and at FIRST Championships. Dr. Shimizu works at the University of Minnesota, where he is a Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Director of the Graduate School Diversity Office, and Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD)
PTC and FRC Team 125
McKenzie is an alum of FRC Team 2648 and mentor of FRC Team 125. After graduating from WPI with a degree in Biomedical Engineering, she went to work at PTC as an Applications Engineer.
Mike is a founding member if FRC Team 3132 and a professor of electronics st Macquarie University. He had started several companies and holds a handful of somewhat accidental patents.
"Renee Becker-Blau, (RBB), is a community-building, opportunity-chasing, trail-blazing, #STEMINIST who believes the future is built better together and our youth will change the world.
I want to ensure that EVERY student, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status, has the opportunity to CHOOSE if they want to pursue a career in STEM, instead of life choosing for them. By day I'm the President of FIRST Indiana Robotics, a NPO K-12 STEM mentoring program, by night I work remotely as a Talent Development Associate with MKE Tech Hub Coalition and volunteer with Reinvented Magazine as COO."