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  #31   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-11-2010, 08:44 AM
JaneYoung JaneYoung is offline
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Re: Engineering Mentors Attitude/Role Towards Their NEM Counterparts

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoboMom View Post
It might be time for a culture change within the organization.
In my opinion, I don't think many NEMS think about garnering any awards other than the ones that the teams work towards as a whole. I don't know if that is a sad thing or a beneficial thing - because most NEMS have bought into the benefits of the program as opposed to the drawbacks and just go about doing their job, usually behind the scenes. Being rewarded or awarded isn't even a blip on the screen. It could be that the reason is because many NEMS don't receive recognition in their own teams and community. It would be good to have a better understanding of what a non-engineering mentor is and what a volunteer is. One would think that it would be easy to discern, but teams get bogged down in that and the work of the NEMS gets lost or hidden. Because of that, the value is not recognized. The teams that understand the value of NEMs and their contributions to the team and community - are wise.

Jane
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Last edited by JaneYoung : 06-11-2010 at 09:01 AM.
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  #32   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-11-2010, 08:49 AM
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Re: Engineering Mentors Attitude/Role Towards Their NEM Counterparts

Shaker doesn't have any engineers, so we LOVE our NEMs.

That's strictly true, but we have 2 teachers, one of which who teaches introduction to engineering, and a college student (I hear he's a huge idiot), so if those count as "Engineering Mentors" because they emulate the mentorship a real engineer does, then we don't have any NEMs.

I would say Shaker students respect all of its real mentors (I don't count) equally, even going so far as to insist on submitting a WFFA for our head mentor - whom is a chemistry teacher, not an engineer, and does a lot of "NEM tasks" on the team in addition to the cool robot stuff.
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  #33   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-11-2010, 10:43 AM
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Re: Engineering Mentors Attitude/Role Towards Their NEM Counterparts

In the words of Alex Slocum (and others), any time we generalize, we are wrong.

Categorizing is only helpful to a point. In this thread talking about NEM's and Engineering Mentors is only helpful to a point. Generalizing, at all, about an entire category is diffucult at best and destructive at worst.

Go visit 342 FRC teams and you'll see 342 different systems for doing business. Humans, in general, are involved with FRC teams because they see benefit in it for others and benefit for themselves. For some students/mentors/teams fitting into a category (such as "NEM" or "Engineering Mentor") works well and in other cases it does not.

Funny things can happen to an organization over time. Categories can help a team organize and improve efficiency and productivity. These categories, over time, can sometimes evolve into titles and position descriptions and, if such a team or group isn't careful, can have that lead to misunderstandings and turf issues.

Be sure to use categories, and units of measurement, and titles, and descriptions carefully ... never assuming/generalizing about a population. Like all tools, if these are misused, you'd be better off not having had them at all.
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Unread 06-13-2010, 12:17 AM
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Re: Engineering Mentors Attitude/Role Towards Their NEM Counterparts

As a Non- Engineering Student and now Mentor I've never had a problem with the Engineering Mentors. We've always respected one another and worked well together, some times it's hard to get them to communicate though...

It does seem that EMs notice NEMs the most when they're no longer working with the team, because all the little things they've done disappears when the mentor leaves.
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  #35   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-14-2010, 10:08 AM
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Re: Engineering Mentors Attitude/Role Towards Their NEM Counterparts

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Originally Posted by JamesBrown View Post
I agree completely. I appreciate every thing that volunteers do, however it is important to draw this distinction. A Non-engineering mentor should work with the students interested in those fields teaching them about the business, logistics, and marketing (I am sure I am missing plenty that NEMs do) aspects of the team. By the same definition, an engineer who is not working to mentor the students is not a mentor he/she is a volunteer. It doesn't matter if you write a thousand lines of code for a robot, if you didn't teach and/or inspire the HS students as you did it then you are not a mentor.
I truly appreciate and whole-heartedly agree with this statement. I am what would be considered an EM, that is I have a degree in engineering and work with the students to teach them and help them (as needed) in programming the robot. However, I find that some engineering mentors I have encountered forget that it is about mentoring and not doing... and that mentoring includes: getting to know the students, and helping them find their niche, and teaching them to respect everyone on the team, and recognize everyone's contribution, and so much more. Woodie has set a very good example for all of us on that count... we all need to look to his example and remember that that is our goal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Holley View Post
I know on our team at least, we have no shortage of mentors willing to help lead a prototype build or offer their opinion on some technical aspect of the robot. However, we have a massive shortage of people who are willing to lead some of the "less glamorous" aspects of the team. I would trade a technical mentor for a NEM any day of the week (for our team at least)

-Brando
Amen to that statement... as an EM I truly believe that the NEM is very often the unsung hero. I wish we had more of them!
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Unread 06-14-2010, 11:04 AM
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Re: Engineering Mentors Attitude/Role Towards Their NEM Counterparts

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoboMom View Post
And most NEMs are not eligible for the WFFA.

It might be time for a culture change within the organization.
This is not true, and this opinion should not be propagated.

All mentors are eligible to win the WFFA.

However, since the award focuses on the efforts of technical communication and inspiration, the mentors who are recognized this way make some sort of impact with their technical mentoring. Even the first year that WFFA's were awarded, a young construction worker (Dave Ferreira) was recognized as a WFFA winner.

Sincerely,
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Unread 06-14-2010, 03:02 PM
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Re: Engineering Mentors Attitude/Role Towards Their NEM Counterparts

That is correct, Andy, any adult on the team is eligible to be nominated.* However the award was not intended to recognize the areas that most NEMs are involved in, so a corresponding award for the non-technical side would be appreciated. Especially since teams often focus on non-technical topics pre- and post- build season and NEMs often work on the teams for longer periods of time.

*I believe the description was changed in 2005 or 2006 to remove the criteria that the mentor had to be an engineer or teacher. Prior to that time we were not eligible for the WFFA.
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  #38   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-14-2010, 04:06 PM
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Re: Engineering Mentors Attitude/Role Towards Their NEM Counterparts

I am a college student studying Mechanical Engineering and Business Management. I have been involved with FIRST for over 8 years in both the engineering and non-engineering concepts. I find that I am generally less respected then the mentors who only focus on the technical side.

I think a lot of the non-engineering tasks are pushed aside and are neglected unless someone steps up. The engineering stuff definitely takes precedence.
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  #39   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-14-2010, 07:37 PM
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Re: Engineering Mentors Attitude/Role Towards Their NEM Counterparts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Baker View Post
This is not true, and this opinion should not be propagated.

All mentors are eligible to win the WFFA.

However, since the award focuses on the efforts of technical communication and inspiration, the mentors who are recognized this way make some sort of impact with their technical mentoring. Even the first year that WFFA's were awarded, a young construction worker (Dave Ferreira) was recognized as a WFFA winner.

Sincerely,
Andy Baker
Andy,

I apologize if my post was poorly worded and thanks for your clarification.

The intent of my post was not to take anything away from all the very deserving mentors who are nominated and honored past, present and future with the WFFA.

Jenny
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Unread 06-14-2010, 09:21 PM
Lil' Lavery Lil' Lavery is offline
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Re: Engineering Mentors Attitude/Role Towards Their NEM Counterparts

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I often treat myself poorly
To be fair, we all treat him poorly.
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