Team: 4265 – Secret City Wildbots (Bechtel / SAIC / UT Battelle / jcpenney / Fazoli’s / PetSafe / Oak Ridge Associated Universities & Oak Ridge Schools & Oak Ridge High School)
Regional: Smoky Mountain Regional
Sydney Buckner epitomizes the FIRST qualities of Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism through her initiative, passion, and leadership.
She showed unparalleled initiative laying the foundation of our team with a $250 donation our rookie year. She personally recruited teacher mentors and served as program manager in the 10th and 11th grade. She continues to lead funding efforts, team meetings, and the application and selection process for student leads.
There is not a day when she isn’t bursting with exuberance! Unifying our team with her contagious laughter and enthusiasm, she’s everyone’s best friend, a shoulder to cry on, a homework tutor, and a positive spirit. When strife arose over programming the robot in LabVIEW vs. Java, she proposed a successful compromise. She inspires us to see our school’s rivals, 3824 and 3140, as partners in the spirit of Coopertition.
Her unrivaled commitment is seen in her dedication of time and energy to FRC. In 2012, she called a leadership meeting the night before competition where she helped the team create pit schedules and tasks. We won the Rookie All-Star Award at the regional in large part because of her technical leadership. To get Cyber Blue fast feedback on their business plan template, she edited through the night to send back revisions to provide insight from a “rookie team” perspective. She devoted a week of break to reading 30 team manuals/business plans then led our team in creating our team manual, website content, and business plan, along with presentations for sponsors, Parent Night, Open House & the Rookie Quick Build (RQB).
For RQB, she contacted the TN Regional Director, wrote and led presentations, organized catering, invited dignitaries from the community, wrote press releases and contacted media. Pioneering the charity event “FRC for FRC”, she filled out paperwork and contacted the managers of the Family Resource Center (FRC) to ensure its success. The summer of 2012, she also helped establish a NXT robotics camp at the Children’s Museum where she volunteered and led design sessions.
In order to teach the team LabVIEW, Sydney spent the off-season learning the language and was even able to help a team 3140 with their gyro during the 2013 build season.
She exhibits leadership regionally by initiating contact with 5 rookie teams, continuing to check their progress and serving as a helping hand. When, after two weeks, 4489 hadn’t ordered parts, she invited them to our lab to create a running drive base, a notebook full of contacts and a working website. She acts as a mentor to rookies, sending them pertinent information, keeping tabs on their needs, and providing guidance.
She’s always ready to help others, and her directory of FRC contacts spans the nation. When 4462 reported their cRIO unresponsive she worked with 2393’s controls lead until 4462’s robot was up and running in 30 minutes. She moderates the regional FRC forums, and made the RQB resources available online.
In light of Dean’s Homework, she updates leaders in our community, sponsors and the mayor on our team’s accomplishments, keeping close relationships with employees from Bechtel and Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL). She worked with alum Sean, planting the seeds for an FRC team in Cookeville, TN. She manages our Alumni Association by sending them updates and including them in events to further sustain FIRST.
Her passion for FIRST’s ideals reaches further than FRC. Her first year as project manager, she served as state officer for the TN Technology Student Association. She maintains A’s in her 5 AP classes, and is an active participant in monthly fundraisers for the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge. Due to connections made through FIRST, she will intern this summer at ORNL working with robotic human exoskeletons.
Sydney’s passion for FIRST is unwavering, and she aspires to one day ascend to a career in biomedical engineering and ultimately mentor at the FRC level to inspire others to pursue STEM careers.