Youth Council Spotlight: Aaron, Maja, Rachel, Muskaan – Aaron S.

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Aaron

  • About/Profile
    • Hi, my name is Aaron! I am a grade 12 student from London, ON, and I am one of the co-captains of FRC Team 5024 Raider Robotics. I’ve been involved in FIRST for almost four years now, ever since I joined my school’s team in 2019. Since then I have been a member of our build team, presented for awards, and helped with outreach wherever I could. FIRST has given me so many incredible opportunities for learning and meeting new people, and I couldn’t imagine where my life would be had I not involved myself. This is my very first year on the Youth Council and I’m super excited to be involved in the initiatives we have planned! 
    • Outside of FIRST, I’m very interested in theatre and film photography. I’ve been in my school’s drama program throughout all four years of highschool and if I had the time I would love to be involved in community theatre in London. Film photography is something I took up a few years ago, shooting photos of places I go and friends of mine. I then develop the film in my garage and get to see how my shots turned out later on!
  • What is your favourite memory from your robotics team?
    • My favourite memory from my team has got to be one from provincials last year. We were all sitting outside having lunch, tired on our third day of competition. It had been quite some time since it last snowed, so it was a surprise when we spotted a pile of snow. We took the opportunity to have a snowball fight and build a snowman, who we named “Snowbot.” As much as we accomplished last year, that moment really reminded me that what I loved the most about my team was how much fun we had together.
  • If you could have any animal as a pet, real or mythological, what would you pick and why?
    • If I could have absolutely any animal as a pet I would want a red panda. They’ve been my favourite animal since I was seven or eight years old, and I think I owe it to my younger self to fulfil the dream of having one.
  • What’s your ideal rainy day activity?
    • I have to say that my ideal rainy day would just be spent watching movies and shows with my friends. It doesn’t matter if what we watch is award-winning or the worst thing we’ve ever seen, together it’s always more entertaining.
  • What song do you think is close to 100% perfect? 
    • There’s something very special about the way We Are Young by fun. has the ability to strike a chord in almost every person in my age group. I personally have very fond memories attached to the song and it’s really just a feel-good song all around.
  • What’s a movie/TV show/book you’ve watched/read too many times?
    • My favourite movie as a kid was Ponyo from Studio Ghibli, and I must’ve watched it hundreds of times. To this day, I could probably recite it from memory. I made my family watch it so many times, my older brother now refuses to watch it for any reason.

Maja

  • About/Profile
    • My name is Maja. I’m a Grade 11 Student on Celt-X 5406. This is my second year in FIRST, and I absolutely loved my first season. I joined robotics with limited knowledge about STEM, completely clueless about what opportunities FRC could offer. I helped out with various sub-teams this year, but programming and mechanical seemed to be my favourites. I hope to branch out this year and help with more sub-teams. My team, 5406, has practically become a second family to me. They’ve been extremely supportive throughout my journey in robotics; I got to realise my passions and meet amazing friends and mentors on the way!
    • In my free time, I mainly watch movies and read books. Currently, I can’t get enough of the movie Whiplash and the book The Anthropocene Reviewed. My all-time favourite movie is Good Will Hunting. Aside from books and movies, I love listening to music! I enjoy every genre and listen to music constantly, whether it be I’m home relaxing or outside on a walk.
  • What is your favourite memory from your robotics team?
    • My all-time favourite memory is my entire team belting out songs the entire bus ride to the Houston World Championships. For multiple days on the road, the only thing we did was sing our hearts out and dance, whether it was 7 in the morning or 11 at night. Our personal favourite artists were Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift, we were definitely Sour’s top listeners this year.
  • If you could have any animal as a pet, real or mythological, what would you pick and why?
    • 100% a sloth, they’ve always been my favourite animal. They remind me of very big lazy cats, and as a cat person I think I need a pet sloth to relax with.
  • What’s your ideal rainy day activity?
    • My ideal rainy day activity is probably baking and having a movie marathon with my friends. My friends and I are definitely not the best bakers in the world, and whatever we make ends up being slightly inedible, but it’s really fun anyway. Our favourite movies to watch are animated kids movies, “Sing” and “Ratatouille” will always hold a special place in our hearts.
  • What song do you think is close to 100% perfect? 
    • A song I keep coming back to is “Everlong” by Foo Fighters. I listen to this song anywhere and anytime. I can’t get enough of it.
  • What’s a movie/TV show/book you’ve watched/read too many times?
    • The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my most-read book, I believe I’ve read it over 10 times, and I don’t believe I could ever become bored or sick of rereading it. I first read this book going into high school, and resonated with the main character and his experiences. Rereading it at the start of each school year brings me a sense of comfort and hope.

Rachel

  • About/Profile
    • Hey there! I’m Rachel, a grade 12 student from Markham, Ontario, and a member of FRC 7902. This is my second year in FIRST, which has been my dearest and most memorable extracurricular activity. I remember the ecstasy elevated in the arena by the crowds as the competition started during my first season. The excitement, enthusiasm, and thrill while watching the FRC competition live streams and rooting for all the teams competing with my friends and family! I have always loved exploring robotics. From the time that I tried out soldering a circuit board while following a tutorial online to the moment watching my team’s robot climbing up the rungs successfully. This year, I have the great honour of being on the FIRST Canada Youth Council, and since then, I have had the wonderful opportunity to be able to connect with other members across provinces, creating significant and impactful initiatives to continue promoting STEM across Canada. 
    • Outside of FIRST, I aim to support my peers in my region by providing more STEM initiatives, such as an annual student-run hackathon dedicated to high school students with the objective of amplifying more opportunities in STEM. In my free time, I love to paint and create artwork by documenting them on social media to create a positive environment for online interaction.
  • What is your favourite memory from your robotics team?
    • My favourite memory from my robotics team is the time when every team member cheered for our robot during the competition, and interacted during the competition although it was hard to meet everyone during the pandemic. Furthermore, I loved how every team supported each other during the competition; this is still one of my favourite memories from FIRST for the team interactions. 
  • If you could have any animal as a pet, real or mythological, what would you pick and why?
    • I would love to care for a capybara; they are just TOO ADORABLE! Especially when they are habituated to humans with beyond affection. Fun fact, they are excellent swimmers and can stay underwater for up to 5 minutes!
  • What’s your ideal rainy day activity?
    • I would first start off my day with a cup of cold brew with vanilla cream and a glass of lemon water. Then I love to express my love of cloud scenery with acrylic paints. I would listen to Clairo’s Immunity album along my journey to perfecting my cloud drawing ability. 
  • What song do you think is close to 100% perfect?
    • To me, “Every Summertime” by NIKI is 100% perfect. This song has the perfect tune with a splash of bliss and excitement while illustrating a story in the warm summertime. This is probably the only song my parents can correlate to while we listen to it together on a summertime road trip to connect two distinct generations together. 
  • What’s a movie/TV show/book you’ve watched/read too many times?
    • I absolutely adore Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (besides Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World). Since the summer of 8th grade, I have started revisiting the book too many times. Every time I see a new hard copy of Jane Eyre, whether it’s from the community library or school library, I would always pick it up and enjoy it one more time. 

Muskaan

  • About/Profile
    • Hi! My name is Muskaan, and I’m in 11th grade as the captain of FTC 16397, Relatively Quantum. I have been on 16397 since its inception during the Skystone season, but I have been involved in robotics for nearly 7 years now, starting my journey in VEX IQ. Then in 8th grade, my elder brother and I pioneered Relatively Quantum. This year, I’ve taken on the primary roles of programming, CAD and authoring the engineering portfolio! FIRST and my team are two things I hold very dear to my heart, and I am thrilled for competition season to come! To unwind and relax from a stressful day, I’m guilty of being a constant TV show re-watcher. Some of my favourites include The Good Place, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Stranger Things, Dead End: Paranormal Park, and Bojack Horseman. I’m also a pretty avid reader, and my current favourite author is Catharine MacKinnon.
  • What is your favourite memory from your robotics team?
    • Definitely when we attended world championships, it was a surreal experience. I met so many teams that I had looked up to for years and even got my inspiration from. It was almost like meeting your idol. I had to contain my fangirling when I visited some pits. It was such a communal and welcoming experience, with thousands of people who share an equal passion all meeting just out of sheer love and commitment to robotics. Every long night, failed program, and terrifying robot breakdown was worth it for that experience.
  • If you could have any animal as a pet, real or mythological, what would you pick and why?
    • I have to say quokkas. They’re just too adorable to resist. I love how friendly and excited they are to hang out with tourists/people. Their smiles get me every time I see them.
  • What’s your ideal rainy day activity?
    • I’m so torn between having a peaceful indoor binge-reading session and a jumping-in-a-puddle and getting muddy situation…I think I’ll settle for jumping in puddles with an audiobook on.
  • What song do you think is close to 100% perfect?
    • This is so tough…but the first song that came to mind was Pisces by Jinjer. I’ve listened to that song so many times, and I have never gotten bored of it because there’s just always so much going on that you never run out of things to appreciate. The lyrics and imagery are so well written you can think about it for hours, don’t even get me started on Tatiana Shmayluk’s vocals. This song was also a pretty formative gateway for me into the djent-ish genre, so I thought it was super funky the first time I heard it, and I have never stopped loving it since.
  • What’s a movie/TV show/book you’ve watched/read too many times?
    • Definitely The Good Place. I have entirely lost track of how many times I have watched the show, but just know that it’s on so frequently that I can quote the next line, no matter which episode or timestamp. I remember watching it for the first time in middle school, and I just knew from that moment that I would base my entire personality on that show for…way too long. I could (and have) talked about it for hours on end.