2015 Graduates

Kristyn Tamarrah Farrell - University of Ottawa, Génie Civil / Civil Engineering

Years on 3161 as student: 4

About: Over the past four years, Kristyn has been involved in various aspects of the team, including community outreach, electrical, administration, sponsorship, scouting, and robot build. Kristyn was the team's Administration Captain during the 2014 season. During the 2015 season, Kristyn was appointed as the External Affairs Liaison for Team 3161.

FIRST's Impact: "When I joined my high school's FIRST robotics team in Grade 9, I had no idea how much this experience would change my life. Through my participation and involvement with FIRST and with Team 3161 over the past four years, I have gained so many valuable skills and extensive knowledge that I will definitely be able to use throughout my future endeavours. FIRST has introduced me to the world of STEM, and shown me for the first time just how exciting and interesting math and science can be. FIRST has inspired me to become an engineer, and to use the skills and knowledge I have gained in order to help other people and change and improve the world we live in. FIRST has taught me to communicate with other people, and has vastly improved my leadership, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Through FIRST, I have made so many new friends and gained so many valuable skills. FIRST has truly been an amazing experience and I will forever be infinitely grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved with such an amazing organization and program."

Michael (Spok) Szpakowicz - University of Toronto, Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics

Years on 3161 as student: 4

About: Spok was a team captain and lead scout in the 2014 season. In the 2015 season, he was the captain’s advisor, as well as the drive coach. During both seasons, Spok has been the lead programmer and ran multiple programming workshops.

FIRST's Impact: “When I joined the Tronic Titans, I expected that I would learn how to design, build, rebuild, and fix robots. And I did. What I didn’t expect was that I would make great friends and lasting memories. I now realize that FIRST is not about building robots, it’s about building people. FIRST opens the fields of science and technology to young minds while emphasizing the importance of gracious professionalism. It highlights the benefits of teamwork, and the challenges of the work place. Through my many experiences on Team 3161, and I have learned to approach people and problems with an open mind, and also that sprockets make great chain tensioners. Without FIRST, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

2014 Graduates

Krysta Peralto - Queen's University, Computer Engineering

Years on 3161 as student: 4

About: Krysta has filled various roles on the team over the years from being a chairman's presenter to a drive coach. Most notably she served as the team captain in the 2012 and 2013 seasons and was the lead designer of the 2014 robot. She was a 2013 and 2014 Dean's List Finalist and is now a mentor for Team 4476 W.A.F.F.L.E.S. in Kingston.

FIRST's Impact: "My passion for STEM has been fostered by my time on Team 3161. Through FIRST and Team 3161 I have been given many opportunities to further my learning and share my passion with others. FIRST and my family at Team 3161 has gotten me through many hardships and in return I hope to do the same as a mentor. The spirit of volunteerism and co-opertition in FIRST has encouraged me to continue with FIRST. I would not be who I am today without FIRST."

Amanda Rampertab - University of Waterloo, Mechatronics Engineering

Years on 3161 as student: 4

About: Amanda was the community outreach coordinator with Tronic Titans. Over her years of service the team has had expanded with great progress in the fields of FLL organizations.

FIRST's Impact: "To me building robots from a young age in the FLL it has not only been the robots that we were building it is a PASSION. When I grow old enough to be on the referee team of the FLL World Open 2014 in Toronto I have seen so many young souls out there like the mini me building a better tomorrow. It is awe-inspiring to see all of these things happen from generations to generations. I love seeing children getting excited for the program and what they are doing with robotics. I love robotics. I really do. "

2012 Graduates

Hilary Dawe - McMaster University, Life Sciences

Years on 3161 as student: 2

About: Hilary was a member of the Build and Awards teams, acting as Lead Scouting in the 2011 season and Safety Captain in the 2012 season. She represented Team 3161 at multiple demonstrations and presentations as a team ambassador.

FIRST's Impact: "FIRST has instilled in me a passion for science and technology and has taught me valuable lessons about team work and professionalism, even in the heat of competition. I have learned so much during my time with Team 3161, more than I would have ever thought possible, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow alongside such incredible people.”

Devon Gasparotto - McMaster University, Software Engineering

Years on 3161 as student: 3

About: Devon joined team 3161 in its rookie season in 2010. During the build seasons Devon has worked on a variety of tasks for different parts of the team, most notably manufacturing materials and prototyping in the 2012 season. He also represented Team 3161 as a Chairmans presenter for the 2012 season.

FIRST's Impact: "FIRST and the people I have met through FIRST have provided me with an absolutely amazing experience. Being able to work with peers on large tasks that require leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, and hands-on skills has given me the experience necessary for a science driven career and post-secondary education. I owe so much to Team 3161 and the FIRST community, thank you for the engineering experience, the exhilarating competitions and the lasting friendships. We left the 2012 season with a huge bang and I cannot wait to return to Team 3161 next year to see the progression and our attempt to tackle the 2013 challenge.”

Julia Martinko - McMaster University, Integrated Science

Years on 3161 as student: 2

About: Julia was a member of the build, business, and awards teams, and was a Chairman's presenter for two seasons. Julia was the awards team captain for the 2011-2012 season.

FIRST's Impact: "I went to see Team 3161 at the 2010 Waterloo Regional, and instantly became hooked by the amazing atmosphere and accomplishments of all the young people. I was inspired to become part of this program, and found it to be nothing like I expected, but that I loved every part of it. Over the last several years I have gained many new skills, met amazing people, and become even more inspired by science. FIRST is truly unique, and I am so happy that I gave it a chance and got involved!”

2011 Graduates

Matt Clarke - McMaster University, Engineering Physics

Years on 3161 as student: 2

About: Matthew has been a member of FIRST Team 3161 for two years, and in that time participated in some small part to every portion of the team imaginable. Matthew was a part of the Build and Media Teams, helping build the robot and shoot video at events. 

FIRST's Impact: "I joined the team in its first year a week into build season after being recruited by some friends already on the team. When I went in to my first meeting, I was welcomed with open arms into a community of like-minded individuals. The field of science and technology has been revealed to me through FIRST Team 3161, and I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without it. Being a part of a robotics team has exposed me to things I never would have encountered otherwise, like machining parts and understanding how to wire a robot. Thanks to FIRST, I have met so many new and amazing people, and will be thrilled to help out in the years to come. Buckle up everyone, the Tronic Titans are coming!"

Paul Fossenier – McMaster University, Mechanical Engineering

Years on 3161 as student: 2

About: As a student Paul worked on the strategy, build, and design teams, and acted as a Driver and Drive coach. His speciality was with electrical and pneumatics, acting as the Electrical team lead in 2011. He has mentored FLL teams and has participated in and lead numerous community events and projects during his time as a student member. Paul was a 2011 Dean’s List Finalist Award recipient at the 2011 Waterloo Regional. Paul continued to work with the team as a Mentor for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

FIRST's Impact: "Working with this great group of fellow students and mentors has been some of the most enjoyable, and defining, experiences of my life. Because of FIRST, I am leaving high school with valuable knowledge, skills, and experience that will help me in future academic and engineering endeavours. Nothing else in High School rivals what FIRST does for the students, it's in an entire league of its own. I look forward to starting my career as a FIRST mentor, and continuing to work with this great group of people to see just what we can accomplish. Limits only exist in the mind."

Stephen Karas - University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Nuclear Engineering

Years on 3161 as student: 1

About: Stephen was primarily on the build team. He was involved on the construction of the robot as well as preliminary testing, and mock ups of the robot and playing field structures.

FIRST's Impact: "FIRST was a first for me. It was an experience like no other as I was able to meet new people as well as meet a new part of myself. I have enjoyed the chance to work together with my peers creating something we put our very best in. FIRST has given me a chance to prepare for the future as we are dependent on our ability to work together with our colleagues."

Melissa Ling – McMaster University, Integrated Science

Years on 3161 as student: 2

About: Melissa was the leader of the Awards Team, was a Chairman’s Presenter, and also worked with the Build, Business, and Communications sections of the team. Melissa was one of the team’s 2011 Dean’s List nominees.

FIRST’s Impact: “I originally joined 3161 a little sceptical of the whole idea of robotics, but after a couple of meetings, I was hooked! Aside from learning and doing things in engineering I never thought I would do, I’ve gained life-skills, and have been introduced to so many amazing people I probably wouldn’t have know otherwise. I’ve given so many hours to our team that FIRST isn’t just an experience for me anymore, it’s a lifestyle, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I can’t wait to see what else 3161 is capable of in the years to come!”

Melissa Lynett - University of Waterloo, Systems Design Engineering

Years on 3161 as student: 1

About: Melissa was mainly a member of the build team and also helped out with the awards team. She was Safety Captain during the 2011 season. Melissa continued to work with the team as a Mentor for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

FIRST’s Impact: "Being a part of 3161 gave me knowledge that I will use for the rest of my life. I joined the team knowing very little about robots or manufacturing and throughout the season I learned so much. FIRST gave me the opportunity to get real life engineering experience which convinced me that pursuing engineering in university is the right path for me. Outside of the technical aspects, I learned a lot about how to work in a team and I got to meet amazing, like-minded people. FIRST was by far my best high school experience"

Nicolas Puello - Sheridan College, Information System Security

Years on 3161 as student: 1

About: Nicolas worked mainly on the build team, though, if there was a team clown position he would have it.

FIRST's Impact: "I joined 3161 in the summer of 2010 after attending some meetings with a friend. Throughout the rest of that summer and the year to come I quickly caught on to what FIRST was about and made new friends quickly. FIRST opened up a new world of options in engineering and technological career options. It felt amazing to be a part of a large group of similar minded people who all share that crazy passion for science and technology."

Alexander Ratelle - McMaster University, Electrical Engineering

Years on 3161 as student: 2

About: In 2010 Alexander worked to design and build several mechanical components and provided graphics and video for the team. He competed in the Drive Team Coach role during the Waterloo Regional and World Championship in Atlanta. In 2011, Alexander shared the role of co-captain and worked with build and design members, but also took on the challenge of presenting the team to the judges as one of three Chairman's Award Presenters. He competed as the Human Player at both the Waterloo Regional and at Greater Toronto West. Alexander continued to work with the team as a Mentor for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

FIRST's Impact: "FIRST gave me hands on experience in engineering, and led me to study efficient design more closely. It has developed my leadership skills and provided excellent opportunities to go beyond what is learned in school."

Sabastien Snow - McMaster University, Electrical Engineering

Years on 3161 as student: 1

About: In 2011 Sabastien Snow was forced onto team 3161 by non other than lead student Paul Fossenier. Acting as part of the build team and head of practice field construction, Sabastien always made sure everything was "to scale". Teaching newer or inexperienced members how to handle basic tools, and proper construction safety Sabastien quickly gained respect on the team. Sabastien, now retired from his old positions of power enjoys being a mentor, and will never say no to a member in need of a zip tie.

FIRST's Impact: "Being thrown into FIRST Robotics was initially scary. As I was being literally dragged to room 311 after school one day, I felt like it wasn't for me. I knew nothing about robots, or team work or responsibility and thought that there was no way someone like me would be useful to the team. 3161 proved me wrong. They taught me to push myself further. To challenge myself, and let failures act as learning opportunities. It wasn't just about the engineering experience it was about the attitude. The way FIRST teaches you how to embrace challenges with open arms and never give up. For 3161 this is only the beginning."

Taylor Williams - Loyalist College, Art and Design Foundations

Years on 3161 as student: 2 "I have been on 3161 since the start and plan on staying until the end."

About: Taylor was the Media Representative of the team. He took videos and pictures of the team during build season, competition time, and off season events. He maintains the Tronic Titans YouTube page, keeping it up to date with videos of events we run and participate in such as competitions or fundraisers. Next Taylor will be be going into Art and design foundations at Loyalist College, where he will be learning about differing mediums an artist can take and how to use the media to their advantage.

FIRST's Impact: "To me, FIRST isn't just a competition or an organization, it's something of a network, but of its own genre, it brings people together in small groups that are the teams in each tier being FRC and FLL, and each of those families culminates into a big family of FIRST, it's always going to be hard to find two teams that don't get along because the principals of FIRST are so closely followed and help mold us into the people that tomorrow needs. FIRST is a lifestyle which not only improves quality of life, but also improves on a persons appreciation for life."

2010 Graduates

Andrew Azores - McMaster University, Computer Science

Years on 3161 as student: 1

About: In 2010, Andrew was one of the team's co-captains and the lead programmer, and was also involved with the mechanical and electrical aspects of the design team. Andrew continues to work with the team as a mentor for the team's software development and also for the mechanical and electrical build elements.

FIRST's Impact: "FIRST gave me a taste of what it's like to develop software in the real world, as opposed to in a classroom. I already enjoyed programming but I never expected to have as much fun with it as I did while a member of an FRC team. Of course, I also enjoyed all the other aspects of the team, robot-related or not. To me, FIRST Robotics isn't just about building a robot, and it isn't even just about spreading co-opertition and gracious professionalism, or just about inspiring others to pursue science and technology - it's all of that at the same time, and it's also about bringing together people with all kinds of diverse interests and experiences in science, technology, media, and more, but most of all, it's the hardest fun you'll ever have. I loved my first season as an FRC member, and since I've graduated and can't be a member anymore, I have, and plan to come back as a mentor for many years to come. The fun doesn't stop when you graduate!"

Craig Hoo - McMaster University, Mechatronics Engineering

Years on 3161 as student: 1

About: Craig lead assembly of the electronics and control systems for the team in 2010, as well as assisting with pneumatics and build team. Craig continues to work with 3161 as a post-secondary student mentor.

FIRST's Impact: "When I joined the team I was like many others and thought that the FIRST robotics competition was all about the robot. How very wrong I was. In my time with 3161, I've developed critical marketable and interpersonal skills that I've put to work in my first year of university. We were introduced to CAD and the engineering design process in a hands-on way and it has helped me get ahead in my post-secondary studies. Through the FIRST robotics program, I've learned to act with gracious professionalism not only while on the team or on the field, but in all aspects of life. Participating in the FIRST robotics competition is an invaluable experience I wouldn't trade for anything."

Robert Huczek - University of Waterloo, Computer Science

Years on 3161 as student: 1

About: Robert was one of two captains on the team's rookie year. He worked primarily with the build team.

FIRST's Impact: "Originally I joined the team because I thought it would be a fun thing to do, as well as something nice I could include in my university applications. Instead it turned out to be one of the greatest learning experiences I've ever had, as well as an opportunity to make new friends and reinforce some of the friendships I already had. I gained many skills and friends that I couldn't have had I not joined the team. The countless hours spent in the shop building the robot and laughing with friends made this so much more than just an extracurricular activity."

Kristin Sprukulis - University of Toronto, Social Sciences

Years on 3161 as student: 1

About: Kristin was on the team the very first year 3161 was established in the 2009-2010 season. During that year she created the logo for the Tronic Titans and was apart of the marketing/fundraising teams.

FIRST's Impact: "To me, FIRST means getting a chance to do something new and exciting. It means being able to share your excitement about science and technology with the community, but most of all FIRST means that you have a group of outstanding individuals working together, teaching each other and creating friendships that will last a lifetime."