Interview room & judging panel (rookie questions)

There is a LOT of good, honest, and very helpful information in this thread. Following along with that, I’d like to balance out a few things with some overall thoughts…

The interview is obviously a very important part of the process, but it is only a part of the process. CA judges will also spend time observing your whole team and they are likely to ask other teams about you if they believe you are in serious contention for the award. Some of this you can’t control, nor should you attempt to.

The fourth person to just observe and/or the ability to videotape is never likely to happen. Maybe this hasn’t happened everywhere, but at all of the regionals I went to, our team received written feedback from the judges at the end of the process. Having the feedback of the judges is infinitely more helpful than the feedback from a fellow team member. Besides, with the fourth person in the room there really isn’t a way to prevent them from speaking and even the most innocent of circumstances could lead to an infraction of the rules and unfortunate disqualification that no one would like.

Also, please remember what the CA is about. No disrespect meant here to anyone, but from my perspective if a team as a whole isn’t fully “into” the true meaning of FIRST and what the Chairman’s Award stands for, then they most likely aren’t worthy of receiving the award. No external motivation should be necessary at all, in fact it’s quite the opposite. FIRST fosters growth that leads to individuals who make choices based on strong personal convictions related to global ideals. Members of a Chairman’s Award winning team are aware that they are part of a culture-changing activity, that their individual lives are changed for the better, and that it is their responsibility to make a postivie difference in the lives of others (both inside and outside of their community).

No videotape or observer should be necessary to convey that to a team. Now, I could see your Chairman’s committee making frequent presentations to your whole team and even possibly sharing what the interview was like with the whole group. I have never been in that room and I was always inspired by what the students told me about the interview afterward. By the way, I’m also in the camp that believes in sending three students into the interview. I agree with Dave about knowing the entire, sustained team history, but I believe students can learn (and should know) the history of the team.

During my time with 103, there were a lot of informal discussions among the team members about the meaning of the CA, how it guides our activities and actions through gracious professionalism, and what it means to our community as a whole. At dinner during build season we would frequently share our CA submission with the whole team to get feedback, to inspire those who needed it, and to inform everyone. Altohugh only a handful of students were involved in the CA “process”, every team member was aware (on some level) that what they were doing individually played a part in carrying out FIRST’s mission.

I’m so glad teams are more willing than ever to share such intimate details on the interview process. This is GP at its finest. At each one of the 30 regionals this year there will be more than one CA deserving team in attendance. The award will be granted to one of those teams. Make sure that your team allows time to foster and cultivate those internal motivators so that , “win” or “lose”, you can celebrate with an equal sense of pride and accomplishment.

Good luck and remember what a special thing it is that we all have.

I was wondering if people could post sample questions that the judges might ask. This would be greatly beneficial to our team. Thanks.

Last year, they asked us a lot of questions based on our presentation. Ex. If we told them that we did the “Adopt-A-Road” program, they would ask us how we felt that we were conveying them message of FIRST through that effort. If they feel that some of the criteria is missing from your presentation and essay that was requested in the “Chairmans’ Questions” (see your manual), there is a distinct possibility that those questions will be addressed.

They ask a few personal questions; basically, how has FIRST affected you and what are your future plans.

Also, sometimes they ask about the reactions of the people that you have been working with in FIRST (a Lego League team, your school, the community if you did volunteered in some capacity, etc.).

Side note to a previous question: Most of the time they provide chairs for the presenters. I’m not so sure about tables, but there are usually some in the room anyway.

If a mentor is present in the room, can they be involved in the presentation as well, or can they only talk during the interview?

Just for clarification, the mentor would have to be one of youre 3 selected people. Any of your 3 selected people are allowed to talk and participate, however, the way I see it, the mentor is only there as a back up. That was one of the things that we were graded down on last year was that they felt that they wanted to hear more from the students than the mentors. And if you think about it, it really makes more sense that way. FIRST is here mainly for the students. It’s for them to learn and for them to grow. It would make sense for them to be the ones to tell about how fantastic it has been for them.

A question I mistakingly forgot from before that I have been looking for an answer. The actual presentation of the award: does it occur on a specific day at all Regionals? (i.e. Thursday? or Friday?) does it change depending on Regional? Or, do the judges start viewing presentations, continuing through teams over the two days until all teams have been viewed?


The award presentation is on Saturday.

With the Chairman’s Award being the highest team award for FIRST, they save it for last. At every regional I have attended, the winning team ends up staying on the field to celebrate after the announcement is made. It is an exciting time for the winning team and those who know the team and what they have accomplished.

Sorry, maybe I worded it wrong. When is the actual interview for teams? Does it occur at a specific time at all Regionals, or does it depend on the Regional and when the judges at the Regional begin interviewing?

If I remember correctly, we were assigned a specific time by the FIRST staff for that specific regional.

At the VCU last year they had a giant poster with diffrent time slots and you wrote down your team number next to the time. It was first come first serve, they might try to keep it the same at all the regionals this year but maybe not.
(Mentor,Deep History of the team,…Dave?)

Some have been assigned by the judges, and they schedule around matches.
Others have had a sign up sheet at Pit Admin and you pick your own, based on matches and preferences.

I have been holding off posting here until I got all my facts straight.

I contacted Wendy Trommer at FIRST to verify my information.

  1. Rookie teams do not participate in the interview process at regionals.
  2. From Wendy:
    " It is clearly stated in the Team Manual in the Awards section, that rookie teams are ineligible for the Chairman’s Award, which is about sustained excellence. Rookie teams may use to create a submission (a are required to if they are a NASA grant team), however it will not be reviewed by FIRST judges on line. If a rookie team would like to print out a copy of their submission to give to the Judges in the Pit as part of the Pit interview process, it will be used in consideration of the Rookie All-Star award. However, it is not a required piece for this award."

This means it will be very important for all rookie teams to be prepared with copies of their Chairmans entries and/or other handouts about their team in the pits when the roving judges visit.

Thank you for the clarification!

The actual interview takes place on Friday during the regional.

Is that new to this year? I was on 1390 last year (rookie) and did the interview process. The rules read the same as it does this year, so I have been believing that 1604 this year would also do an interview and our submission would be read over by the judges just as if we were competing for the Chairman’s award. I see this did come from an official, but I want to be absolutely sure on this because I have been preparing for the interview process for some time now. If nothing else, could a rookie team possibly sign up to present anyway?

From Wendy Trommer at FIRST:

"Rookie teams were not included in the formal Chairman’s Award interview process last year. If Regional Chairman’s Award judge team did so, they did it on their own and perhaps because they had time (it might have been an event with only a few submissions). Teams should not count on this happening again this year. All teams, including rookies, are interviewed by judges in the Pit. "

Barry, you cannot sign up anyway.
But think of what a great “elevator” speech you will be able to give to the judges in the pits, so all is not wasted. What you have done to prepare will serve you well. It will just be done in the pits.
At the Chesapeake, the Chairman’s interview will be held in the Naval Museum. In an alcove. With the public walking by. During the VIP reception with VIP’s walking by. Sounds a lot like the pits, only with less music :slight_smile:

Quick addition, have a mentor on board, but don’t have them speak during the presentation part. Have them help the students if they get stuck, but have them shut up until a question is directed towards them, or the students get stuck or lost on a question.

Actually there are many viewpoints on this issue. Whatever works best for your team.

At UTC we were offered a number of time slots and you could select whichever one you wanted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Be aware that just like with the robot competition matches, these times are estimates - they were running ahead of schedule and came and got us early.