It’s always impressive when a freshman in high school joins a team and makes an immediate impact on the varsity squad. Keith did just that when he joined team 1024 and was awarded a coveted spot on the pit crew, fixing the robot as needed and helping the team win one District Event and the State Championship. The next year, as a sophomore, he set his sights higher, taking over the huge responsibility as the robot operator and calmly helped bring home three District Event wins, the State Championship win, and the Carson Division Finalists award at the World Championship. Not one to let success get to his head, Keith applied to be a student leader, determined to help our team be even more successful his junior year.

We hold all of our team members to high expectations. Keith holds himself to higher and shows an eagerness to learn and take on the challenge of building a robot. He models a good work ethic and positive attitude for his peers. He is one of few students who can be counted on to focus on a task and see that it gets done, even when there are more interesting projects on the other side of the shop. An example of this is when Keith took time away from robot build to help with our Entrepreneurship Award submission in the middle of Build Season. His expertise about the team was needed for writing at that moment, and he successfully transferred his robot build task to a younger student, showing that leaders know how to delegate.

As a member of our student leadership council, Keith led other students through the prototyping, designing, and building of our Fuel handling subsystem this year. He also was in charge of documenting this whole process and leading discussions about design decisions regarding his mechanism. During team concept and design reviews, Keith answered team members’ questions clearly and thoughtfully, once again showing his calm demeanor.

Keith is rarely absent from team meetings and attends all competitions. His dedication to the team is apparent; moreover, he’s devoted to inspiring younger students to pursue FIRST and STEM careers in the future. In the offseason, he serves as a coach at robotics camps, the last two summers for middle-school and upper-elementary kids. This year, he’s trying to collaborate more with the middle-school robotics teams, to try to increase student participation and involvement in the community, as well as develop student leadership for them.

Keith learns quickly and is able to complete tasks with only little instruction. He is not afraid to ask questions but has the confidence to make decisions in order to keep working when mentors are unavailable. He is able to use what he has learned to assist his teammates. Keith was one of the first students to be trained in using the team’s CNC router and has since trained other students to master this machine. His experience drawing 3D models in Inventor has been instrumental in this year’s robot design. Given a few minutes discussion and a rough sketch on a white board, he can turn an idea into a robot mechanism. He has the patience and attention to detail to work through the nuance of a design problem before rushing to a solution.

It’s evident, by the way that people rely on him at every team meeting, Keith is one of the most valued members of the Kil-A-Bytes, and we are honored to nominate him for the 2017 Dean’s List Award.