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Kristen Kelso
Kristen Kelso Name: Kristen Kelso
Date Honored: 01-31-2006
Years involved w/FIRST: 8
FIRST Team(s): BAE SYSTEMS/Rockwell Automation/University of New Hampshire &, Central High School (0131), St. Thomas Aquinas High School (1307)
Role: Mentor
Quote: "It is kind of fun to do the impossible.” – Walt Disney
Bio: Kristen Kelso is a dynamic college mentor in New Hampshire, working with teams 1307 and 131 as well as the local FIRST Lego League. When asked to describe in-depth her activities, she gave us this description: "I do as much as I can and go where I am needed most. My main role on team 1307 has been to act as a liaison between UNH and Saint Thomas Aquinas High School. I have also organized activities for the high school students to work on during their week-long winter term robotics class and I mentor them throughout the season. Now, as an alumni mentor of 131, my main role is to help my father stay sane. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. This season, I have been assisting 131 in the design of their new website, fundraisers, their FLL Tournament, the creation of an alumni association and mentoring the high school students during the FRC season." Her first sentence sums up her dedication to the FIRST program.

We asked Kristen to give us a favorite FIRST memory, but this proved hard for her. "It has been a pretty crazy eight years. Almost every FIRST memory is a “Favorite FIRST Memory”. Topping everything off though, would have to be going to the 2005 Championship Event with Team 131. I spent the 2003-2004 & 2004-2005 seasons mainly focusing on 1307. It was amazing to be able to go back to my “family” on 131 after being away for two years. C.H.A.O.S. has and continues to impact my life in so many ways, I am so grateful to be back with the team that started my passion for FIRST."

Kristen also gave us a list of her accomplishments in FIRST over the past eight years: "The highlights of my FIRST career have been the RCU, Girls Connect and the UNH Robotics Club. Advocating the involvement of girls in FIRST, I co-founded that RCU in July of 2000. In high school, the RCU gave me unique opportunities to meet new people, then work with them to reach out to the girls involved with FIRST. Although I am not as involved as I once was, I still enjoy working with the leadership committee and observing all that they do. Girls Connect is a one-day workshop that introduces girls in middle school to LEGO Mindstorms in preparation for FIRST LEGO League. I helped found Girls Connect in New Hampshire in 2003. Since its inception, this workshop has served over 300 girls in the state of NH and helped start and fund 16 all-girl FLL teams. This workshop has had a dramatic effect on the number of girls involved with FLL in NH. (Help start a Girls Connect workshop in your state!) Originally, I was going to take a break from FIRST during my freshman year of college. Instead, I became the president of the UNH Robotics Club. The club now mentors two FRC teams, one FLL team and is active in hosting two FLL tournaments."

When asked to describe FIRST to an outsider, Kristen thought it impossible. However, she did give great advice to her peers in FIRST. "Take as much as possible from your involvement with FIRST and learn from your mentors. The teachers, engineers, alumni, parents and high school students in this program are incredible people. So take as much as you can, strive to develop the qualities that you admire in your mentor, and then turn around and BE A MENTOR."

Congratulations to Kristen Kelso, our next Unsung FIRST Hero.

Nominated By: MattK

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