Mentors

Kimberly Day

Kimberly Day

Official Team Moderator, Operations Lead Mentor

Biology and Chemistry Teacher

Ms. Day graduated from Occidental College in 2002 with a BA in Chemistry. She was an outdoor educator on Catalina Island and a Research & Development Chemist before she began teaching at Saint Francis just this fall of 2010, where she joined SFRT as a mentor because, as she puts it, "it's student-led, it's hands-on science, and it's fun!"

Commenting upon her experiences as a first-year mentor, she said, "I'm impressed by the students' dedication to the team -- I don't know how some of them get to the lab so quickly after school!"

Favorite Quote: "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." - Calvin Coolidge

Mike Chechelnitsky

Mike Chechelnitsky

Team Moderator

Mr. Chechelnitsky graduated from the University of California, Irvine, in 2004, with a B.S. in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. He then worked at Witness Systems as an algorithm developer, Risk Management Solutions as a financial modeling engineer, and Computer Access Technology Corporation as a software developer before joining the Saint Francis High School staff and coming to teach in 2011. Despite this being his first year at Saint Francis, he immediately signed up enthusiastically as a Robotics moderator to, as he puts it, "watch our future engineers and scientists at work and help facilitate their development". He describes his experience as a Robotics mentor as "humbling and exciting".

Mr. Chechelnitsky has also studied game theory and financial mathematics, and is a puzzle enthusiast in his spare time.

Favorite quote: "What I find most alarming is that our increasing dependence on science is paired with our decreasing awareness of its principles." - Anonymous

Michael Rubin

Michael Rubin

Chassis and Minibot Lead Mentor

Math and Physics Teacher

 Mr. Rubin is a University of California, Santa Cruz graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering from 2003. He began teaching at Saint Francis that same year and helped create the Saint Francis Robotics Team in 2007 by agreeing to be the official club moderator, with the goal of creating an educational setting with the opportunity for hands-on experience – a setting in which Saint Francis students will be able to "go on to become scientists and engineers equipped with the tools necessary to deal with the complicated issues that face our society." In addition to mentoring duties, he also took machining classes at De Anza College to learn machining and milling skills to help the team; after completing the class, he helped purchase a mill for our lab.

"I'm always amazed at how creative and hardworking students can be when they are motivated by a project such as FIRST," he says. "I hope that some of the lessons learned by FIRST can translate into a classroom setting."

Favorite quote: "Don't worry about bolting that down, we will just use zip ties." - Anonymous

Alejandro Barragan

Alejandro Barragan

Chassis/Minibot Lead Mentor

Saint Francis High School Alumnus

Mr. Barragan is an alumnus of Saint Francis High School and one of the original founders of the Saint Francis Robotics Team. He went on to attend San Jose State University and agreed to return to help with chassis and minibot design.

James Benedicto

James Benedicto

CAD (Autodesk Inventor) Mentor

James Benedicto graduated from Saint Francis in 2011, and went on to attend the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana, where he is currently studying. Mr. Benedicto was responsible for starting the team's CAD division after teaching himself Autodesk Inventor in his freshman year, and has since helped write up a curriculum to teach Inventor to newer members.

From the 2012 build season onwards, however, the Saint Francis Robotics Team officially switched to using Dassault Systemes' SolidWorks as their primary CAD tool, while the CAD division was merged into the newly formed ACG (Animation/CAD/Graphics) Division. Mr. Benedicto has been largely preoccupied with his college studies since his graduation and as such has been able to devote minimal time to contributing to his former team; nevertheless, we feel that his contributions to our team's CAD division in our team's earlier years merits his continued receiving of credit as a mentor.

Favorite Quote: "Robots do all the hard work".

Andrew Fischer

Andrew Fischer

Programming Lead Mentor

Math and Physics Teacher

Mr. Fischer is a graduate of Harvey Mudd College, earning his degree in Physics in 2006 and starting to teach at Saint Francis that same year, with experience from multiple internships, tech support, and science labs behind him. He joined SFRT as a mentor upon special request and describes Robotics as "a nerd's utopia".

Favorite Quote: "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts." - Richard Feynman

Simon Raines

Simon Raines

Saint Francis Activities Director

As school-wide Activities Director, Mr. Raines helps to allocate some of the school budget and funds into Robotics and regularly signs off on large, expensive Robotics purchases, for which we owe him much gratitude and appreciation. He also is instrumental in getting our robot a showing in SFHS rallies, as well as getting the SFHS spirit squad to attend the Silicon Valley Regional this year!

Larry Steinke

Larry Steinke

Saint Francis Tech Admin

As the Saint Francis Tech Admin, Mr. Steinke helps us manage most of our technology, from getting us the most up-to-date software and hardware for the lab, as well as helping us host our website on the school server.