Alumni / Testimonials
Here is an inspirational article about one of our recent graduates currently at the University of Connecticut
Hi my name is Zachary Nado and I am the first four-year veteran of Team 2168. I joined my freshman year (2008-9) as the only student who wasn’t a senior. Since then I have learned so much about FIRST and especially love programming, so much so that I am studying it at Brown University at this time. I know that I wouldn’t be studying at this excellent university without the experiences I gained with FIRST. I hope that I can encourage other students to pursue their dreams and realize their potential as they learn and grow with FIRST. The summer between my junior and senior years I wrote an Android app for scouting the FIRST competitions. This year I have worked with the current Team 2168 programming team students and we have created updates for the app which can be downloaded from the Google Play store at
There are about 1500 downloads for the app this year and we hope to grow that number each year.
- Zack Nado, 2008-2012 / Programming Captain
Brown University/Computer Science Class of 2016
Coach Gaines in the movie Friday Night Lights once said, “Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning. It's about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could. There wasn’t one more thing you could've done.
”During eliminations, there is nothing more the drive team could have done. We were at the top of our game. With clear eyes and with joy in my heart, I can promise you when I tell you we gave it our all. Tim is one of the dirtiest drivers in the country. Similarly, Josh is one of the most systematic people I have met in my life. He has trained us to perform to the highest level we can. The past two years, we have been through it all. We have broken parts, made mistakes, and even almost run over a squirrel on the way to a steakhouse. It has been an extraordinary journey and an immense pleasure standing behind the glass driving the heck out of Talyn and the Fat Swan with these guys by my side. From all those dinner humiliations to entering scouting data till late night, the drive team will always have a separate spot reserved in my heart.
"Whether we win or lose my love for this organization and especially this team will never fade".
Even though my time on the Aluminum Falcons has been short, I love every experience I have had. Going from defeating the first seed at WPI Battlecry to actually being the first seed in not just not one but two competition is amazing. Going from the new kid who rarely spoke to one of the most excitable members on the team. The old saying goes "everything happens for a reason" and after witnessing these last two years there may be some truth to it.
When I first came to Connecticut I thought I had reached "rock bottom". I felt as if I had lost everything I worked to gain throughout the years. Not until I joined FIRST Team 2168, that I realize that this transition wasn't a loss but rather an opportunity to fill myself with something greater. People I saw as strangers I easily grew to love. STEMS, I saw as something foreign, a field that I found myself consistently immersed in. Being a new kid from across country, it was the Aluminum Falcons, that had made it special. Even to this moment now, I still wish I could have came to Fitch before my Junior Year.
"This competition made me realize how lucky our team is to have great people surrounding it. The mentors did an awesome job this year. Kevin and James did awesome with the programming. You can't get much better than a hundred percent autonomous scoring rate. Christian was huge for pit work and mechanical changes. Josh and Justin, our new mentors, took this team to the next level. They designed this robot and made sure it was put together and working properly. They put together the mini bot and deployment as well and got it working by the end of the day when it mattered. Everyone put in the time and the work and gave us an awesome robot to put on the field. They gave the drive team the opportunity to be great - and we were. Our robot was dirty. Unfortunately we were picked by the eighth seeded alliance and had to go against the championship team in the first round of the eliminations. In short, our mentors are awesome. They allowed us to go on the field and compete. Because of them I got extremely competitive and seriously got into this game. Not only were they extremely good at their jobs in the pit but they were extremely cool people to be around. I made friends with all of them and they made my FIRST experience great. Because of them I now love FIRST robotics. They deserve recognition. Thank you guys. I would also like to thank Mr. Chidley. He didn't have a glamorous job but it was important and without him we wouldn't have been at this competition. He registered for and organized the events. He set up the hotels and food options. He organized the meetings and made sure everyone had a ride to get to the competition. He also heckled our sponsors into giving us money. He's the only person in our school who even cares about robotics and without him we wouldn't have a team. He doesn't get the recognition he deserves sometimes and I would like to say thank you. Another person who did awesome this year was Mrs. Entwistle. She put a lot of time into the pancake breakfast which raised us a good amount of money. She supported team throughout the season and she deserves a thank you as well. Everyone I've mentioned (and I'm sure there are others I haven't) has changed my life and I want to thank you guys for that. You gave me a great senior year and turned something I wanted to do to impress colleges into an awesome experience. You guys are great."
- Matt Myles, 2011 Human Player
WPI Aerospace Engineering Class of 2015