Team: 4468 – Fernbank LINKS (WIT Foundation / GE Volunteers / Gate 6 Solutions & Fernbank Science Center & Lakeside High School)
Regional: Peachtree Regional
Kristin Weiss is a junior who fervently embodies the ideals of FIRST. When Kristin joined our LINKS robotics team last year, she had never used CAD software or been in a machine shop. One year later, Kristin has risen to Vice President of Team 4468.
Kristin joined the team as a sophomore and was a force to be reckoned with. After learning the basics of robot design and construction during BEST competitions, she jumped in and led the design and prototyping of a manipulator on her first FRC robot as part of another school’s team. She astounded both her teammates and her mentors at how quickly she grasped concepts, her creativity, her focus, and how well she motivated her teammates. This year, she helped co-found our FRC rookie team and is Vice President. Kristin is in charge of not only the manipulator group, but also of ensuring all members know what to do by when.
Before Kristin officially joined our LINKS team, she was actively involved with its outreach programs in our county. DeKalb County Public Schools is 85% minority and largely low income; one of Kristin’s main goals has been to excite many of these kids about robotics and science. She has led many of her team’s monthly Science Night Outs where she spent Friday nights teaching elementary students how much fun science is and promoting FLL. Kristin has led several workshops for FLL teams, where she taught kids and teachers the basics of robotics. She has also spent numerous Friday nights with rookie FLL teams guiding them through practice scrimmages. She has inspired and assisted dozens of new FLL teams throughout the last two seasons, and she has been extremely effective at increasing the awareness of FIRST across the district’s schools and community.
This year, Kristin volunteered to be Score Master at an FLL qualifier for local teams, and for a second year, Kristin volunteered at the Georgia FLL State Championship. Although too young to be a judge, she was a great judge’s assistant, spending nearly 12 hours on Saturdays advocating for FLL and the young roboticists of the future.
Kristin’s technical expertise is exceptional. She has been subject accelerated in mathematics for five years and took AP calculus as a sophomore. For two years in a row, she has been recognized by the National Center for Women and Information Technology with an award for Aspirations in Computing by the State of Georgia. Last year, she was selected for Georgia’s prestigious Governor’s Honors Program in Biology. She balances her robotics life by playing varsity tennis and being a member of the National Honor Society and MENSA. Her technical, analytic, and engineering skills are more often seen in college engineering majors.
Last summer, when her team’s home base, the Fernbank Science Center, was at risk of being shut down, Kristin organized a rally of more than one hundred people to protest the closing. She clearly understands how crucial this science center is to the community, and especially to poorer members of the community, at promoting not only science, but also math, technology, engineering, and FIRST. She created a Facebook page that reached hundreds. She grabbed the attention of local media and business leaders by her powerful and poignant testimony in front of the school board on behalf of the 100, 000 students in the county, to stop the closing.
Kristin Weiss personifies FIRST robotics. She continues to impress individuals of all ages with her passion and talent for robotics, her ability to motivate and lead, and her outreach to the kids of our society. This junior plans to finish high school and double major in college in microbiology and computer science or biomedical engineering. Once in college, she plans to become an FRC mentor to local teams, embodying, sharing, and promoting the vision and essence of FIRST. She undoubtedly deserves the FIRST Dean’s List award. May all rookie teams have a leader as ardent and vocal a supporter of FIRST as Kristin.