A large part of our identity as a robotics team is the impact we have on students’ lives beyond high school. Many Spartronics alumni have gone on to accomplish amazing things in college and beyond with the skills they’ve learned from their time in robotics.
One of our outstanding alumni, Grant Dalton, was kind enough to give us some updates on what he’s doing and how FIRST robotics impacted his life:
Q What did you do after college, and what are you doing now?
GD “After college, I got a job with the Army developing remote weapons and currently lead the development of a stabilized weapon mount for helicopter gunnery.”
Q How did robotics help you in college and your career?
GD “Participating in FIRST showed me what the end goal of engineering was, how at the end of the day, all the math, testing, and long days results in a product that is cool and new. For me, it helped me find my passion for mechanical engineering and designing new and innovative concepts. If you develop your skill set to include the types of creative thinking that FIRST encourages, you will find enjoyment in any field solving any challenge.”
Q How have you stayed involved with FIRST?
GD “I’ve stayed involved with FIRST by starting a robotics team at Dover High School in Dover, NJ. Growing up onBainbridge Island, it can be easy to take the opportunities you are afforded and the quality of the public school system for granted, but many schools do not have the type of STEAM programs and support for STEAM that Bainbridge provides. My goal in Dover is to build a program that can provide the same opportunities in a Title I school as I was afforded at BHS, because good ideas and hard work don’t care about your background.”
Q What message would you like to share with students new to the team or thinking about joining?
GD “It can be intimidating to look at the end product and full robot without seeing the process which creates it, and it is okay to feel like you don’t have the needed skills or classes to contribute. At its core, engineering is about problem solving and creating solutions, so if you like puzzles, games, or creating art, chances are you already have everything you need. What you might not see is the support system of teachers and mentors that work with the team to teach you all the math, science, design, coding, and engineering skills while breaking the huge task down into manageable chunks.”