Hannah is a senior in high school and is the youth mentor of FIRST LEGO League 36321 Team W.I.L.D. She is also a FIRST Alumni, having competed on Team Fire from the 6th to the 8th grades. Hannah finds that although a lot stays the same in the realm of FIRST LEGO League (i.e. style of competition and student involvement), it is a very different experience to be a team mentor than member.
She notes that there is a different kind of stress involved in each scenario. As a team member, she felt the anxiety and excitement of the competition directly. Now as team mentor, she concentrates on being there to help the whole team succeed and making sure that everybody is properly equipped. So it's all new and different but still a lot of fun. She basically went from being the one who was encouraged to being the one who does the encouraging.
Hannah's favorite part about being the team's youth mentor is bringing everything that she has learned in the past to this team. She volunteers because FIRST meant so much to her when she was in middle school. Back then, she didn't know what she wanted to do for even an extracurricular activity, much less when she grew up. And it was being involved in FIRST that led her to decide that she wants to specifically direct her education towards a career in engineering. She now attends the Central Florida Aerospace Academy and looks forward continuing on in the engineering field.
It's clear that it is also very important to Hannah to pay it forward. Not only is it fun and rewarding to volunteer and be a mentor, but she loves helping the kids learn, work on their projects and to also show them how many wonderful opportunities they have. She also gets a kick out of seeing the looks on their faces when they accomplish difficult tasks and the concepts finally click. Being there to guide them through their own work and problem solving is the best part.
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