Why I Mentor - Eric Byer

There are several reasons I decided to become a mentor, but probably the biggest one for me is the desire to leave a lasting impression or ‘legacy’ on the world.  I also greatly enjoy the opportunity to pass on my own knowledge and skills to the ‘next generation’.  Both of my parents were teachers at some point in their careers, and I think I inherited a bit of their ability.  On a more personal level, FIRST wasn’t around when I was in school, and I don’t have any kids of my own so this was a way to ‘live vicariously through others’.

Being a FIRST mentor has also helped me in my own career, in ways that I did not expect.  Someone once told me that you don’t realize how much you don’t know about a subject, until you try teaching it to someone else.  Whether it’s drilling the right size hole in the right place, or milling a part on the Bridgeport mill, or assembling a gearbox, or building the robot in CAD, I’ve discovered that sometimes the students teach me just as much as the other way around.

When I started with FIRST, I chose GHS because I felt like I would make a bigger impact there, compared to other schools that already had a lot of support.  The first year I was with the team (2010) it was just Mr. Vance and myself and around 10-15 students.  We struggled greatly just to make it through competition, but the next year was better.  Then the next year was better than that, and so on.  Now, the program has reached the point where a few events beyond our control were the only thing standing between us and going to the world championship.  That is nothing short of phenomenal.  No way would I ever stop wanting to help out a group like we have.

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