Mentor in search of a team in Dallas TX

Hi, I’m Riley and I just graduated from team 8005 in Las Vegas Nevada, and I am attending College in Dallas Texas My role on that team was Captain, lead designer, and head builder. I would love to mentor a team. If you are interested, I can be reached at [email protected].


Something I’d suggest is taking a few years away from direct team involvement after graduating. Figure out what you can do with your time while volunteering. It’s easy to get super involved with FIRST without taking some time to figure out how involved you can healthily be.

I graduated a couple years ago and have decided to not mentor for at least my first couple years of college. Gives me a bit of time to gain perspective and separate myself from a team.


As someone who became lead mentor sophomore year of college - at least take freshman year to do other things. Join the rocketry or solar car team. Join the sailing team. Join the Latin dance club (I did and it was a blast).

FRC isn’t going anywhere, so take a year to explore other things that sound fun – you won’t always have that opportunity.


There are lots of great teams in the Dallas area. It is also a pretty large area. If you know where you are staying it might narrow down some more local teams. Depending on when teams meet there can be some serious traffic trying to get across Dallas.

There will be at least two offseason events in the area this fall.

The Texas Talon Throwdown in Prosper

And NTX not sure on the details in that one yet, but it is usually in October and I think it is in Plano.

I would recommend volunteering for one or both of those events and meeting some local teams, mentors, and volunteers.


Ill be attending SMU,

Glad you are anxious to continue your participation in FRC, Riley. I agree with the posts that recommend taking a year or two away from FRC mentorship while volunteering occasionally and experiencing other STEM based programs. It lets you focus on academics while learning other engineering related skills that will make you even more well rounded and ultimately able to contribute even more to an FRC team. BTW, this has been our policy for our High Roller alumni for years now;)


Im inclined to agree with many of the posts here. Take some time off to experience college, focus on your future as an up and coming individual in STEAM. You can be an “involved alumni” for a few years by doing what others said and volunteering. Spend your time with meeting people and networking / creating relationships, as well as maybe get involved with a research project that are going on around campus. Tons of other things that aren’t FIRST that are just as valuable for you to experience.

Remember that academics come first!


Also, those additional experience can be super valuable when you do come back to mentor a team! One of my favorite things about FIRST is the wide range of experiences our mentors bring from their time outside of FIRST, so just jumping right back into mentorship doesn’t bring as much to the table if your only experience is participating in FIRST. Some of the experiences I’ve had and skills I’ve learned from participating and leading a college club (Baja SAE) has certainly helped with being a lead mentor.


Came here to say exactly this. Volunteering is great—they feed you and you get a T-shirt or two. College students will tell you the value of both.

If you want to ball out a bit, pick a travel event during your spring break once the calendar is released. That was always a fun time for me.


Hey Riley, awesome you’re interested to continue contributing to FRC.

While I generally give the same advice as others have in the thread, one thing I’d poke at before jumping back in -

The big question is, why? There’s all sorts of good answers here, but you knowing your goals for mentoring is a big prerequisite to providing good advice on how to proceed.

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I’m going to be a dissenting opinion here since the popular opinion on CD is to highly discourage mentoring immediately in college. It’s a very personal choice with the right choice not being as clear cut as ‘don’t do it’.

I mentored a team that was not my alumni team immediately in college following graduation that had an established mentor infrastructure. I was just a supportive college mentor, not the buck-stops-with-you person. Was extremely active and had the most hours of any college mentor that year, but I’m good at time management so my grades didn’t take a major hit. I didn’t make friends easily at the time, so I was happy to have a safe space where I felt I could contribute and work with like-minded folks. My major was Industrial Engineering, and there were no extracurriculars on campus that interested me more. Don’t regret it and would do it again. I know others who had a similar experience as this.

This being said, there are a number of people I know where they did it Freshman year and it hit their grades pretty hard, with many of them choosing to not mentor after their Freshman year due to how much of a strain it was on their academics.

In short, know yourself and really the call on whether to do it or not is on you. If you do do it, it’ll probably be easier if you join a team that already has a lot of mentoring infrastructure in place so you can focus on primarily being a helper and using it as an opportunity to get into the local Dallas mentoring network (meeting I’m sure many cool folks in the process that could help you with internships/jobs and such in the future).


Welcome to Dallas, Riley! I really encourage you to engage with offseason events in the area to get some volunteering experience and meet the local teams. The Texas Talon Throwdown and NTX are both going to be a blast.

I’d like to echo this - I personally got a lot out of taking a few years away from FRC during undergrad, but everyone has to make their own decision. Just be aware of Chesterton’s Fence: if you don’t understand the reasons people encourage you to take time off, you probably need to think on it some more.


Agree with all the comments above. Here is a map of teams surrounding SMU. Locations are from and are not all are exact, sometimes it’s just putting a team at city center.

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While I still echo the words of others above (trying to give mentoring/team involvement a break during your first couple years of post secondary), if you’re set on mentoring a team, this is the way to do it.

In fact, we don’t allow any of our Alumni to return as a mentor for at least 1 year after graduating highschool. Instead we encourage them to seek out another local team to help out with (or volunteer at events). If after that 1 year break they are still wanting to come back and mentor, they’re welcome to reach out then.

In the past, myself and fellow mentors have seen recent graduates struggle with the quick transition from student to mentor. Being “too friendly” with current students that they are still friends with, or sometimes just needing a little more time to mature have been things we’ve struggled with in the past. I’ve found this time off away from the team to be super important in setting boundaries with recent graduates, and helping them disconnect from the team in a healthy manor.


Hi Riley, welcome to Dallas!

I had a very similar role to you on my high school team (FRC 4639), and I went on to mentor FRC 1745 my very first year of college (2020), and am now currently a college mentor for 1745 and 8874.

Everyone here seems to agree to take a step back from FRC heading into college, and I tend to agree with that as well, despite my experiences. However, if you are determined to jump right back into FRC, make sure that it doesn’t interfere with life. One of the things I struggled a lot with as a college student has been making sure FRC doesn’t get in the way of my social life, my academics, and my health.

So go for it! Mentor! But while you’re at it, make sure that you make time for, and prioritize college. Get good grades, get internships, make lots of new friends, join clubs, and enjoy being free while you can.

If you’re looking for two great teams to mentor, I’d love to connect with you regarding 1745 and 8874.


I was going to say the same thing. Do you want to mentor because you love working with kids, love teaching and explaining and guiding, and want to inspire young people to pursue STEM? Or do you want to mentor because FRC sure was fun in high school and you don’t want it to be over? Or because FRC was your everything and you’re not sure who you’ll be without it?

One of the reasons CD tends to discourage college freshmen from mentoring is that mentoring can sometimes be a path for “high school was fun so I’m just going to keep doing it”, that prevents you from fully growing into the next phase of your life. The most common advice you’ll hear for avoiding that trap while mentoring during freshman year are 1) Don’t mentor the team you were on as a student, and 2) Don’t let mentoring take up so much of your time that you don’t get the full college experience.

I’ll also say that mentoring kids who are basically the same age as you is weird, and while some people get the hang of it relatively quickly, many struggle. It’s hard to maintain boundaries, both in the sense of being an authority figure rather than a buddy, and in the sense of being a teacher rather than a doer. Consider whether people who know you well would say that maintaining strong boundaries is a particular strength of yours.