Becky Thompson, Captain of FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1137, won the Dean’s List Finalist Award at the Virginia Regional Competition at the Siegel Center in Richmond on March 20-22. To be considered for the Dean’s List Finalist Award, mentors nominate students whom they believe are deserving of the award based on technical knowledge, leadership skills, peer recognition, and ability to inspire others. Based on essays submitted by team mentors prior to the competition, and candidate interviews with judges at the event, two students are selected at each Regional Competition to receive the Dean’s List Finalist Award. Of all the regional award winners, ten will be named Dean’s List Award Winners at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis in April.
Since the age of eight, Becky has been on FIRST Robotics teams. For the past five years Becky has concurrently been on an award winning VEX Robotics team, the Twisted Botz. Becky’s FIRST Robotics experience includes four years in FIRST Lego League, two years in FIRST Tech Challenge, followed by four years on FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams, with the first three being on the NASA Knights FRC Team 122 in Hampton. This year Becky joined FRC 1137, Rocket Sauce, in Mathews, Virginia, when they opened their doors to homeschool students. As the team captain, Becky led the design of the team’s robot to compete in this year’s FRC challenge, Aerial Assist, and she worked closely with mentors and team members to prototype, test, fabricate, and program the robot. Becky has shared her experience and the benefits of robotics with others in many places, including Mexico, the Netherlands, at TEDx conferences, the HEAV Convention, the Virginia State Capitol, and at NASA. In her college entrance essay, Becky wrote, “Making quick decisions, explaining ideas effectively, and managing time efficiently are skills that I have learned through robotics. While doing robotics I have used teamwork to work with peers, learned from mentors who are experts in their fields, and talked to politicians, astronauts, and presidents of companies.” As a direct result of her participation in robotics, Becky will study Computer Engineering at Cedarville University in Ohio on a four-year Presidential Scholarship.