Why am I here: There was a NEMO (Non-Engineering Mentoring Organization) that provided me guidance through my early years mentoring FIRST teams. Recently, the three of us found ourselves answering the same questions on FRC Learn and Share. We appreciate the value of passing along those best practices and I want to continue the tradition and pay it forward.
Why FIRST matter to me: I have served youth in numerous organizations as a church youth leader, Girl Scout leader, PTA president and more. In my experience, nothing else compares to the impact that FIRST makes on students. It has been my privilege to watch generations of students enter into FIRST shy and self-conscious and consistently grow to become confident men and women who can identify, communicate and pursue their goals to make their impact.
Wendy Austin started with FIRST in 2005 when her son joined a local FIRST Robotics Competition Team. The next year the team folded and one of the mentors called and said, “you’ve been a PTA and soccer mom, do you want to be a Robot mom?” and thus FRC 1902 Exploding Bacon was formed.
Wendy served as the main mentor for 8 years and joined the Florida/Orlando Regional Planning Committee in various positions from Ambassador Coordinator to X-team Chair. In 2017 she became the Regional Director for FIRST in North and Central Florida charged with growing all programs of FIRST in those areas.
In 2022, the Tallahassee Regional was born sending a wave of excitement across North Florida. Wendy is proof that there is no exit strategy
- FIRST Regional Director North & Central Florida, 2017-current
- 4-H Exploding Bacon Team 1902,
Leadership 2006-2013 (a founding mentor)
- Gra-V Robotics Team 5816, (a founding mentor)
- FIRST LEGO League, Coached 7 years
- FIRST: numerous roles as a volunteer and judge at competitions; volunteer, events and outreach, since 2006
- Mentored, numerous FIRST teams at all levels
- Extensive history of youth organization development: church youth leader, Girl Scout leader, PTA President and more.