Thursday, June 03, 2010

They're Back

Robotics lives!

(insert Geeky-maniacal laughter)
I gave Chickenblog readers a little break from the intensity of my robo-love, and endless posts about FRC events, and Atlanta! Oh Atlanta!
Okay. So I admit, from time to time I have inserted a few encounters, like our Space Cookies meet-up, and our Science Sunday outreach vision.

Obviously, we are in to it.

What's up with the Blue Guy?

I'll tell you what's up with the Blue Guy. That's Mark Leon. I've mentioned him before, when he hung out with the Mechanics and Paradoxan in Las Vegas. I failed to mention that he hung out with the Paradoxan in Phoenix, but yeah, he was totally there!

Mark Leon is the blue-haired, high energy, math pumping, spirited emcee of FIRST Regional Competitions. He's the best. His high energy, which he maintains over two days of competition, is spirited and intelligent. He keeps the games moving forward, while celebrating the students' achievements, efforts, and dance appetites. He does not steal the show, he highlights the students, who are the real stars.

"Do the math, save the world." I say it all the time, but that's Mark's. He does the math. And when he isn't mentoring teams, and promoting robotics, when he isn't waving team flags, announcing team names at FRC, he is the director of the Robotics Alliance Project
at Nasa's Ames Research Center.

And, another thing he does... he visits stand out teams. Which is how we had the honor of spending an afternoon with Mark, the Blue Haired Guy. He came to talk about math, and polar bears, staying friends with the crew of your ship, and what to do if a leopard seal grabs hold of your extremities. Dude's got some stories!

And he also hands over the controls of his moon rover to students. The Robotics Alliance Project is serious about promoting robotics education. Hands-on education. Both Andrea and Suki got to have a try at remotely driving the Rover. Using lap tops they were communicating with the robot in Northern California.

It takes team work!

I have to say: I miss the red pants. It was good seeing everyone, old and new members.

Even Karen and Maria were happy to don team colors again. Maria added her signature color and statement... Permission to Play! Think, Tinker, Make and Go!

I think everyone felt good being in the metal shop again, together.

The generations of 2102 Team Paradox Robotics... great foundation, great future.

Mark's got great stories, but it was especially awesome to hear him recognize the under tension skills of these robot designers and builders. He knows that learning in the pit, on the fly, is what real world robotics is all about, and I could not agree more.

Team parents came through, as always, and served a delicious chili and corn bread dinner. And the visit lasted a good time. It really is awesome of Mark to extend himself, to promote robotics, and deliver on his beliefs. Teachers, thinkers, makers, artists, mentors... I love them!

I hope Mark made his plane!
I hope we see him next year at FRC's and in St Louis!


Aranea said...

That sounds really interesting!

Bossy Betty said...

What a great guy--he is really making a difference in the world!

Unknown said...

Haha, that was so fun. Mark left blue hair dye on the headrest in my car.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

He does leave a *Mark*... (wow, and I wasn't even trying to be pun-y!)

judy in ky said...

These guys are so cool. I love their enthusiasm... and yours. Maria's expression in that one photo says it all. She is having a wonderful life.