Be careful running into this mentor at the grocery store because you might find yourself invited to “visit the team.” Teresa Ewing, lead software mentor for UACR, has made an undeniable impact on 100s of students. Her excitement & dedication to inspire us to be technology leaders is boundless.
As our mentor for the last decade, Teresa has devoted countless hours connecting students with FIRST, showing them they belong and can excel in programming, robot design, or fabrication. If you don’t think you can do something, just ask Teresa for help. Teresa treats all of us like her own children and she cares about our lives. She helps us find internships, proof-reads college applications, advises us on careers & classes, & will even dispense relationship advice if asked. Jessica (CS student at CU & team alum) states, “Teresa is always there to help, whether it’s with code, homework or even a needed hug. Teresa reminds us to keep healthy and makes sure that we don’t get overworked. She always makes sure we get some sleep, even lending us her jacket to use as a pillow. Her laugh can be heard throughout the entire building and is infectious, reminding us that it is about more than just robots.”
She loves mentoring so much that she left her optical engineering job to become a middle school technology teacher. She brought FIRST to her school & has started many FLL teams each year. Students at her school vie to be on the waitlist of Teresa’s “Red Hot Robotics” teams. She is constantly recruiting students to join FIRST teams.
Students she has mentored have become mentors themselves. Dane (UACR mentor) says, “Teresa has encouraged me to pursue my career in software engineering. I strive to inspire students in the same way she encouraged me.” Jackie, a UACR alum says, “Teresa is an inspiring and patient mentor. She is the reason I am in CS today. She has taken time to encourage people like me, who are unsure about a STEM major, and is a great advocate for women in science. I have followed her lead and take a bus from Purdue 2x week to mentor middle school girls in programming.”
Some of her unique mentoring methods include using the analogy of getting warm water from a sink to teach PID control, and having us make 2-color bead necklaces to teach binary. She encourages collaborating whether it is integrating robot software or brainstorming. She enables even the most shy student to share their ideas.
For over 4 years, she has opened her house for our team’s Summer Series. Each week upwards of 50 students show up at Teresa’s doorstep. Students can be found learning Processing in the living room, Java in the den and CAD in the dining room! This year the team didn’t have anyplace to host our team holiday party. Who offered her house? Of course it was Teresa.
Since day one Teresa has been a shining example of dedication, generosity and love for the team & the mission of FIRST. She truly is an exemplary mentor and that is why she deserves the WFA.