Full Name + Pronouns
Emily Forster (she/her)
Years on the Youth Council
How many years did you participate in FIRST?
Please describe your participation in FIRST during high school
I started to get involved with FIRST during high school on my FRC robotics team, team 2056. I got really involved in grade 9 with my team and learned a lot about competitions and how the robot building process worked. By grade 10 I felt way more confident in my abilities and by the end of that year I went to this FIRST Canada Girls in STEM weekend. Little did I know that this weekend would be where I met people who work for or have been involved with FIRST like Kim Cooper, Mark Breadner, and Karthik Kanagasabapathy. After this weekend I was very interested in getting even more involved with FIRST with more then just my robotics team. By the end of my grade 10 summer going into grade 11, I applied to be on the FIRST Canada Youth Council and got in! This council gave me the opportunity to do things I couldn’t have dreamed of and making an impact I didn’t know was possible such as hosting the first episode of FIRST Canada LIVE! in 2020, learning how to produce FIRST Canada LIVE! on twitch, doing some webinar hosting for FIRST HQ, and more! I think my favourite initiative that the Youth Council did was Project Green. In 2019 we did an amazing Clean Up day that reached people all over Canada and even some teams in the USA participated. My high school experience was a little different as my grade 11 and 12 years were mostly during COVID but I still was able to find ways to stay involved and I loved every moment of it.
Please let us know what you’ve been up to since graduating high school
After I graduated in 2021 I began studying at McMaster University for Engineering. I have really enjoyed it so far! First year is definitely hard but I’m always making sure to take breaks and have fun. Along with school, I have also been keeping myself involved with FIRST Canada. An awesome way to stay involved with FIRST after you graduate is to come back and volunteer! In April 2022 I volunteered to be a back up MC/GA at the St. Mary’s Competition and it was loads of fun!
What’s the most important thing you learned through FIRST? How have you applied it to your post-high school endeavours?
The most important thing I have learned through FIRST is to manage your time. On my team we had meetings after school 3 days a week until 9pm and we came in 1 day on the weekend for 9 hours. That was a total of about 27 hours a week not including extra work you would be doing if you were on drive team, editing videos, writing or practicing chairmans, organizing events our team holds, or in my case being on the FIRST Canada Youth Council. Time managment is a skill you can use for the rest of your life and is expecially imporant in post secondary education. For example in Engineering you are balancing 5-6 courses at a time and it’s extremely easy to fall behind so being on top of things is super important.
If you could speak to your grade nine self, what advice would you give yourself?
Personally I wouldn’t wanna say anything to my grade 9 self other then to, “keep going, you’re doing great”. I definitely failed once or twice along my journey, but that gave me the opportunity to learn from my mistakes.
Any last words of wisdom for our readers?
I think the best words of wisdom I could give you would be the words I live by, “Everything happens for a reason”. You may not know that reason now, but trust me its there.