This year, SMAbotics has two Co-Captains, and eight additional team members. Being such a small team, we have learned to work together and our team has bonded greatly. Our student run team works together with our mentors to build a successful robot for each competition.
Gabrielle Giuliano is a senior attending St. Mary’s Academy High School and is one of the Co-Captains of SMAbotics this year. She has been a part of SMAbotics since her sophomore year; also SMAbotics’ rookie year at the FIRST competition. Gabrielle participates in FIRST Robotics because of her great interests in the technology, computer science, and engineering fields. FIRST has helped her explore these interests and she hopes to one day become a successful engineer.
Ceili Sauer, a senior at St. Mary’s Academy, is a Co-Captain of SMAbotics this season. Joining at the start of her junior year, Ceili learned quickly from her peers and has developed good design, build, and strategy skills. Now, as one of the leaders of the team, she inspires others to be enthusiastic about robotics. In the future, Ceili wants to study architecture, and she hopes to use her robotics experience to encourage more young women to get involved in STEM.
Amanda Hall is a senior at Saint Mary’s Academy, and is new to the team this year. While she has only been on SMAbotics for a short time, she has loved every minute of it, and has proven herself invaluable to the 2017 FRC season. Amanda is involved in many aspects of build, but focuses primarily on technical design and fabrication. Next year, she will be attending college, and intends to commission as an active duty officer in a branch of the United States military after graduation.
Riley Fitzpatrick is a junior at SMA, and has been doing robotics for six years. She joined SMAbotics as a freshman, and has become a fundamental veteran member of the team. This past fall, she mentored the brand new St. Mary’s Academy Middle School robotics team in the Rocky Mountain BEST competition, leading them to a Best Rookie Team victory. Riley is the team’s expert on the CNC ShopBot, and contributes greatly in AutoCAD design and fabrication as well. Outside of robotics, Riley is a dedicated taekwondo student, and has earned a second degree black belt.
Abby Sullivan, a freshman at St Mary’s Academy, joined the team this year out of a deep interest for science and technology. She is an extremely fast learner; despite joining the team with no experience, she is now vital to robot fabrication, and is a key member of the robot drive team. As she continues with FIRST, she will work on furthering her programming skills so that she may take over the lead programming position on the team. Abby plans to study engineering and computer science in college, and hopes her experience on SMAbotics will give her a leg up in her future academic career.
Amairani Rodriguez Pena
Amairani “Manny” Rodriguez Pena is a sophomore at Saint Mary’s Academy, and is new to the SMAbotics team this year. She joined the team after a few years of building robots with her father, with a hope to take her hobby to the next level while learning new skills in the process. Manny’s main interests lie in design, fabrication, and driving, and she aims to perfect the skills associated with these categories moving forward.
Mengyuan “Ming” Zhang started at SMA last year and is now currently a sophomore. She is new to SMAbotics this year, but has made a great impact. She is exceptionally smart and excels in math. Ming joined the robotics team in hopes of gaining experience to become an engineer after high school. Ming is a wonderful addition to team and played a big part in designing one of the major components of the robot this year.
Caitlin Feldewerth is a junior at St. Mary’s Academy. She is taking many challenging courses including AP Calculus, AP US Government, AP French, and Computer Science and Engineering. Outside of school, she is also very active. Caitlin is on a highly skilled club volleyball team, and volunteers at Habitat for Humanity. This is her first year on the St. Mary’s Robotics team and is looking forward to compete!
Anna Jonsen is a junior at St. Mary’s Academy. She is taking many challenging courses including AP Physics, AP Human Geography, Philosophy, and Digital Design and Development. Not only does she excel in school but she is also very active with sports. She participated on the high school volleyball and dance teams. This is her first year on the St. Mary’s Academy Robotics team and she has been an integral part of the team.
Sophie Knuettel has been building robots since the sixth grade when she found an interest in Lego Mindstorms. Sophie joined the team not knowing much, but had a willingness to learn. She quickly learned the concepts of robotics, and has been a big help to the team. She provides moral support and has helped design the team t-shirts. Sophie has a happy, energetic personality, and is always ready to learn something new. We look forward to having her next year on the team.
Coaches and Mentors
Dave Gesler has been SMAbotics_AG lead coach since its inception in 2013. As well as coaching the high school robotics team, he teaches Physics, AP Physics, and Applications of Engineering & Computer Science. Prior to teaching, Dave was a lead mechanical engineer for both the Denver Research Institute and the Aerosol Research Group, and a founding partner of C&G Woodworks Inc.
Robin is a Director of Engineering for Charter Communications and joined SMAbotics as a mentor for their Rookie FRC year in 2015. Robin became a mentor to help support young women interested in pursuing careers in engineering and other technical fields. She went with the team to the National Championships in St. Louis in 2015 where they competed as a Rookie All-Stars team and she was able to bring her 8 year old daughter with her to give her an opportunity to learn from the SMAbotics All Girls team. Robin has focused on teaching the team Agile methodology to help them track and manage all the tasks they need to complete to get to competition. This skill is a critical skill used by most technology companies today.
Jeremiah Newsome is an Electronics Engineer at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and has been involved in mentoring SMAbotics_AG since the 2016 FRC season. Before his professional career, Jeremiah got his Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida and served in the United States Marine Corps as a helicopter avionics technician. Jeremiah got into engineering because he always wanted to know how and why things work, and he feels FIRST gives him a medium to help students gain the curiosity and satisfaction involved in solving engineering problems.
Denice Loud is a Project Manager at Comcast, and this 2017 season marks her first year with SMAbotics_AG. While she has only been with SMAbotics a short time, she has been an FRC mentor before, and has quickly become a valuable member of the team. She loves seeing the passion the young women on SMAbotics have for STEM, and enjoys learning alongside the girls as the season progresses. Outside of her profession career, Denice is a mother of identical twin adult daughters, and has been married for 27 years.