Gizelle Gando

Member of the Class of 2012

Team: 488 – XBot (Boeing/Microsoft & Franklin High School)

Regional: Seattle Olympic Regional

Nomination Essay:

Being a veteran team, FIRST Team 488 XBot mentors have seen many students grow from reserved freshmen into independent adults.  However, Gizelle Gando is perhaps the best example of student growth the team has seen, and she’s only a junior!  That is why we have chosen to nominate her for the FIRST Dean’s List Award at the Seattle Olympic Regional.

In school, Gizelle maintains a 3.8-4.0 grade point average with multiple advanced placement classes, including a current 4.0 average in running start classes she is taking at Seattle Central Community College.  Outside of class, she expresses her creative side as the academics editor and photographer of the school yearbook and her athletic side as a member of both the school soccer and swim teams since freshman year.  She also participates in Seattle’s Filipino Drill Team, which is the only Filipino drill team in the United States.

In her community, Gizelle spreads the ideals of FIRST by teaching Lego Mindstorm programming to middle school students through the Technology Access Foundation.  Here, she not only mentors, but acts as a positive female role model for girls interested in science, technology, and engineering.  Gizelle also mentors through her church, where she assists the parish coordinator with Microsoft Office and teaches younger members to use the technology effectively to help with their school work.

But it is within her team that Gizelle shines the most.  When she first joined the team three years ago she was timid and shy.  She has now been elected captain of both FIRST FTC Team 4041, Sprockasaurus, as well as FIRST FRC Team 488, XBot, during only her junior year.  On Sprockasaurus she led an all-rookie group of students to the FTC State Championship in Washington State, teaching them about Gracious Professionalism and the core values of FIRST while helping them learn how to build a robot and present to the judges effectively. She was voted team captain of XBot based on her maturity, eagerness to include all the students, and enthusiasm to work outside her comfort zone while encouraging others to do the same.  In addition to her team captain duties she also leads the electronics and pneumatics sub-team and often acts as the team photographer.

Independent of being chosen team captain, Gizelle was also selected to be a Team XBot spokesperson, representing both the team as well as FIRST as a whole in her community.  As such, she was one of two presenters at the Boeing Leadership Development Excellence group, a Boeing management training and community outreach program.

Gizelle has used FIRST as a vehicle for making positive changes both in her own life and in her community.  The Team XBot mentors believe she is very deserving of the Dean’s List nomination and that she would use the momentum boost given to her by winning to make even more positive change happen in the world.


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