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FTCNJ Alumni Spotlight
Welcome to the newest segment on the FIRST NJ FTC website, meant to showcase our alumni. We will share with you where they are, what they are doing now, how FIRST has influenced their educational and professional careers, and several other things you may find interesting.
If you know an FTCNJ alumni, please ask them to fill out the brief survey on the Alumni Webpage.
Team #3415 - Livingston Lancers, Class of 2010
Isaac got his start in FIRST during his Junior year of high school. He took a Tech & Design II class, in which his teacher, Mr. Jim Novotny, split the class into groups and gave each group a project. Mr. Novotny assigned Isaac’s group a project to build and program a robot from a kit of Tetrix parts, and told them that if they were successful, he would register them as a team in FTC. From that project, Team 3415 was born.
Once the team was formed, Isaac became the Team Manager. His responsibilities included: coordinating logistics for events and competitions and team outreach; scheduling and developing agendas for meetings; ensuring all of the paperwork, like field trip forms, were completed and accounted for; keeping the records on who attended the meetings; making sure the team stuck to the schedule, etc. He also helped to build the robot and oversaw the engineering notebook. Isaac enjoyed the fact that he was able to build something with other people and compete with other teams. Through that experience, he developed friendships, bonding with the other members of his team and making friends with people on other teams, like the friends the Lancers made with Say Watt.
When Isaac was deciding on the school he wanted to attend, he realized that he would be able to combine his passions for Music and Technology at Full Sail University. At the time, it was the number 3 school in the country for Audio Engineering, which was his major. While in college, Isaac still wanted to be connected to FIRST. Through Vince Frascella, Isaac met the FTC Partner from Florida, Michael Coleman. Michael and his wife Jennifer embraced Isaac and immediately got him involved with mentoring a newly created team, #5454, Dent in the Universe (DITU). He volunteered at several events in Florida during his time at school and would also mentor the Lancers when he could, via Skype and e-mail. At the same time, he connected DITU with the Lancers, so the Lancers could mentor DITU also. That year, DITU won the Inspire Award at the Florida State Championship and made it to the World Championship, where they won the Innovate Award.
Since coming back home from school, Isaac has become the Assistant Coach of the Lancers and a Mentor for the Emerald Knights. He has also volunteered at many NJ events, at all of the Super Regionals and at the last six World Championships in technical roles or as a judge. In 2013, Isaac was awarded the Young Volunteer of the Year for NJ FTC. Through his time working with the Lancers, they have made it to the World Championship 5 times and won the PTC Design Award once and the Think Award twice.
When asked about his best experience with FIRST FTC, Isaac talked about the team winning the Inspire Award in New York City, which enabled the Lancers to go to the World Championship in 2010, his Senior year in high school and the team’s first full year of existence. The team felt that it validated all of their hard work. He further said that of course, traveling with the rest of the team to Atlanta to compete at the World Championship was an amazing experience as well. In discussing what he thought was the most important thing he learned from his experience in FIRST FTC, Isaac said: “Teamwork. Every member of the team is important and the entire team needs to work together to succeed.”
We asked if Isaac found that he is able to use any of the things he learned from his experience in FIRST FTC in his career. He explained that the skills he developed in managing people, communication and problem solving are all things he uses every day at work at Morgan Stanley as the Manager of Multimedia Streaming Operations for North America.
When asked if there was anything he would like to share with the current team members of our NJ FTC Teams, he responded: “Measure twice, cut once! Just kidding. Actually, I’m not – it is important. But seriously, listen to your coaches and mentors, they know what they are talking about. Read the Game Manuals and know the rules. Stay organized and use your time efficiently, don’t wait until the last minute. And Have Fun!”