In Search of A Mentor

At the end of this past season, our sole mentor announced that he was going to be focusing on his job, and that the amount of time he will spend with the team in the future will be greatly reduced. As such, we’re in search of a new primary mentor, but we’re not entirely sure where to look. Thus, we were hoping that the Chief Delphi community might have some suggestions as to what we can do, or even might know somebody who would be interested. For reference, we’re in the south San Francisco Bay Area. For more specific details, please contact us at
Much thanks in advance.

I have some friends in the Bay area and so I have posted your info on my Facebook page. Other than word of mouth, you might want to reach out to other area teams directly, if you haven’t already, to see if they can help you find mentors.

Good luck!

Contact your Senior Mentor and let your Regional Director know as well. Part of what they do is help teams find resources like mentors.

What Eric Said ^^

For a “search committee” of leadership students.

Start by asking team parents if they might be able to help, or work at a company where people who might be interested work. Don’t just focus on technology companies.

To help those parents, prepare a short (1 page) intro to FIRST and the team, explain what you need (without scaring them!) and abundant contact info for someone who is interested to get in touch with the team.

The start visiting companies near by, asking if you can briefly speak with an engineering manager or the Human resources department to discuss a volunteering opportunity. Take no more than 5 minutes of their time, unless they seem to invite a longer discussion.

Mentors will not just walk in your door, you need to find, inform and invite them.

Along with what Don said, I believe if this is your “primary” mentor, you should also document responsibilities of the mentor. Would they just handle robot related issues, or administrative issues as well? Stuff like that is important to have in writing somewhere when asking for mentors.

Good luck.

If your team is associated with a school, try and see if you can contact alumni who might enjoy giving back. They’ve been great resources in our case.

Also now is the time to be reaching out to other local power house teams and asking if they can step up and help you mentor your team. They might be able to include you in things like their cad workshops ect to help ease the transition for a new mentor.

We’ve talked to mentors we know from three other teams in the area, and have received a few helpful suggestions as to how to go about our search. We hadn’t thought of asking for more direct help as Mc Kenna suggested, but we’ll definitely keep that in mind. We have sent an email to our regional director, but unfortunately haven’t received a reply. We’ll try emailing our area’s Senior Mentor. Our previous primary mentor wrote a page about the role of the mentor for our team that we can provide to parents or any other such. Almost all of our administrative business is handled by students, with the primary exception of just a few things like hotel reservations that are taken care of by a teacher. Our previous mentor was actually the student who started our team, and seeing who all else in the way of alumni might be out there is definitely a good idea.

Thank you all very much for your replies.

I’m a mentor for Team 766 Menlo Atherton High School in Atherton and have talked with Ken Mitchell about finding mentors for your team. I know that Ken and Jim are out looking for people to help support your team.

I’ll see if I can reach out to some people that I know that might be interested in becoming a mentor.

If you need any help, please feel free to reach out to me as well as Team 766 and we can help in any way that we can.


You might want to contact the exploratorium. They are likely to have information on individuals in the area with the kinds of skills needed for a position like this.

Oh no! 751 lost their mentor! :frowning: I always like playing with 751. Therefore, I will not let you guys go mentor-less! If you ever need anything before/during/after the season, the team at 256 will be more than happy to help with whatever we can!

You should check at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation up the hill from you at the Pony Ranch. They have some skilled folks at that place and one of them may be willing to help. The son of the founder went to your school.

Good luck as other teams near you have lost their senior mentors this year and are also searching.

Kelly- that’s really great to hear. We’d emailed both Ken and Jim, but as we hadn’t gotten a reply, we didn’t know if anything was going to come of that. Andrew- we like playing with you guys, too.

Thank you all very much for your support and suggestions.

Have you been able to find a mentor? If not, please send me a PM and we can talk about any help that I may be able to provide.


Kelly- We have a mentor lined up, and we’re hoping that it will indeed go through. Thank you again for your support.

Glad you found a mentor!

Have you searched for additional mentors that work for your sponsors? This helps to build a stronger bond between the team and its sponsors.

We hadn’t thought to reach out to our sponsors on this, as they’re primarily non-engineering companies.

Most of our mentors come from our engineering/technical sponsors, but we do have a number of parents (who don’t necessarily work in technical fields) who come and work with the kids too, even on the mechanical stuff!

You’d be surprised who’ll be interested and what skills they have - I agree, definitely reach out to your sponsors and ask. And parents too!

Part of what makes FIRST amazing is that not everyone is an engineer. We (in the larger sense of the world) need engineers, but we also need machinists, teachers, graphic designers, journalists, videographers, business professionals, etc.

It’s definitely challenging to gain team members outside of engineering; however, advertising that “[FIRST is] not just about the robots”, is key. This is certainly a challenge that my team faces year-after-year.

While having an engineer is important to overall design strengths, it is not the thing that makes a team successful. If you look at many of the successful teams, they are run like a business: there is a robot-focused part of the team, a media and public outreach aspect, and a business and financial aspect.

Using these focused areas effectively will bring great things. Also, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Generate excitement with the students, make media releases and general advertising flyers, even if they are not as polished. Keep putting the word out and good things will happen.

Great to hear, if your new mentor is not familiar with FIRST or robotics, feel free to have them come by, we are currently meeting regularly preparing for cal games.