Alex N. | Alumni| Team: 2791 | Male | Pansexual| 2017 – Present
How did you get involved in FIRST?
I was nine when my mom brought me to the NYC Regional for the first time; her friend was volunteering that year. Robots sped around a circular track, tossing balls the size of me – the game was FIRST Overdrive. Donning goggles for the first time, I entered the pits and marveled at the robots, but what caught my eye were the people building them – kids, not too much older than myself. From that moment on, I knew this was what I wanted. Stepping out of the pits, a blur of denim and a Segway sped past me. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but I’d just met Dean Kamen. Fast forwards eight years later, to 2016, and I’ve high-fived Mr. Kamen’s mother without realizing it at the South Florida Regional. (Long story short, there was a mosh pit turned conga line involved.)
What is your favorite experience with LGBTQ+ of FIRST?
It’s a small world. It really is.
The most important moment, to me, was when I joined the Discord server and realized that there were people that I’d met in person at competitions years ago; the community was bigger than I could’ve ever hoped.
Even today, as an alumnus, I meet folks who’d been involved in FIRST and the fact that we can pick up and talk about our experiences like old friends floors me every time.
What is one cool thing you’ve learned lately?
Blue’s a rare color in nature. There’s really not any truly blue fruits (come on, blueberries are purple at best) and blue flowers are not as common as, let’s say, red flowers.
I mean, aside from the fact that blue’s not a great color for camouflage because it’s so rare, that is. Chemically, blue is a hard pigment to produce and few creatures do it. The ones that do appear blue seem iridescent (think of the blue on many birds) and it’s because they don’t do it chemically, they do it physically. Their feathers/scales/tissues are structured (many of these structures look like little combs) at the microscopic level to diffract light in such a way that all the other colors experience destructive interference and thus, cancel out.
Final fun fact: I learned about this while my hair was dyed blue.
About LGBTQ+ of FIRST
LGBTQ+ of FIRST is an organization dedicated to raising awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ participants in FIRST Robotics. LGBTQ+ of FIRST was started to spread visibility of the LGBTQ+ community within FIRST and help teams become safe spaces for their members.