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Name: Amanda Morrison
Date Honored: 11-14-2005
Years involved w/FIRST: 5
FIRST Team(s): Beatty International/City of Hammond/PEPSI Americas &, School City of Hammond (0071), NASA/Ball State University & Indiana Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Humanities (1020), NASA / Ball State University &, Muncie-Delaware County Schools (1720)
Role: Administrative Mentor
Quote: "The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me." - Ayn Rand
Bio: Amanda Morrison has been involved in many facets of FIRST over the past 5 years. Amanda described her various roles in FIRST for us. "When I started in FIRST, I was little more than a moral support cheerleader. After a while, I found my niche helping out with team planning and organization. On 1720, I am serving as an advisor to the team’s administrators, helping out with team logistics, and mentoring students working on our award submissions, as well as preparing the team for competitions. I work with a lot of smaller projects, such as the CollegiateFIRST website, the IndianaFIRST website and organization, and help to plan the Boilermaker Regional and the Indiana Robotics Invitational."
Amanda's favorite FIRST memory comes from her first season as a mentor. "The first year I was a mentor, I had a lot of trouble fitting into that role. I still wanted to be a kid, and in retrospect, I jumped in a little too soon and was blinded by my fervor for FIRST. I joined on a local budding team at a private school and tried to get my university involved. That first year, working on a very small budget, the kids designed a robot and actually got it in the crate. The problem was that it had some design flaws, and in reality worked very little. At St. Louis in 2003, we were unofficially given then ‘Flying By The Seat Of Their Pants’ award by the queuers for our unorganized and falling-apart robot running to queue seconds before the match started. The kids worked so hard on that robot, working against all odds. Finally, on Saturday morning, they won a match, and were so excited that a few got tears in their eyes. That year, the kids taught ME more than I ever taught them. I learned that a team of people really should be a team, and that those kids wanted that experience so badly that they took everything thrown at them… and that was quite a lot. The team lasted three years, feeding on nothing but the will of the students to make it happen, at any cost. It is a tremendous feeling watching this happen right in front of you, and in the long run I was incredibly inspired by their determination."
Amanda has given much to FIRST, but feels that FIRST has given much more to her. "I’ve been fortunate enough to work with people who genuinely care about students and this program. I’ve been on teams that are more like family than just getting together to build robots. I haven’t succeeded in all the ways I would have liked to, but I am continually trying to give back what FIRST has given to me. Before I joined FIRST, going to college was a big ‘maybe’ leaning more towards ‘no way’. This was even in the middle of my senior year of high school, when most of my friends had planned out the next 5 years of their lives. I realized I really needed to ante up and do something with my life, and sticking around my hometown at a dead-end job wasn’t going to do it. I have never, ever regretted my decision. I have met so many people that have helped me along the way, and I consider these great friends to be one of the best aspects of my life."
Amanda is known for having a way with words, which can be seen by her fantastic description of FIRST for an outsider. "If you excite someone’s interests in engineering, you’ve done well. If you turn a meek teenager into a chanting, cheering, pink body-painted ball of engineering and problem solving intensity who can’t wait the 193 days until the next build season, you’ve done FIRST."
Amanda had this piece of advice for all her fellow FIRSTers. "FIRST isn’t easy, we all know that. However, we all need to take advantage of the opportunities that FIRST readily gives us, especially the students. No other program will allow you to receive tremendous scholarships, network in your field, and get a head start on your peers quite like FIRST does. Don’t forget that this program is for you, and make sure you grab opportunity by the horns and hang on tight. Treat FIRST and your career like a rollercoaster – when you’re done with the ride, get off and think, “Man, what a rush.” "
Congratulations to Amanda Morrison, our 46th Unsung FIRST Hero.
Nominated By: Kristen Kelso, Arefin Bari, Josh Hambright
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