Published on January 23rd, 2013 | by SamCouch


Rick Sisk, Senior Mentor

Being a FIRST  Senior Mentor means that a volunteer has been identified by FIRST as an outstanding mentor. These individuals are tasked with working with all teams in a specific surrounding area, helping to develop new teams, and ensuring a great FIRST season, year after year. We recently connected with FIRST Senior Mentor, Rick Sisk to talk about his role within the FIRST community. We’d like to share that with you.

Being a FIRST Senior Mentor has to be the best job in the world!

When did you begin your involvement with FIRST?
2008, Overdrive. I was a programming mentor for Robokong 2493

What first attracted you to the program?
My wife made me do it… [My wife] Dona got involved a couple years before I did. It wasn’t until she started Robokong that I finally got involved. As soon as I saw my first robot, I was hooked. Since then, it is the difference we are making in people’s lives that keeps me coming back every year.

What is your current role/involvement with the program?
FIRST Senior Mentor, Judge Advisor for FLL and FTC, judging and inspecting for FRC, mentoring Robokong 2493 and FLL team Robochimps and finally helping with the new Inland Empire regional planning committee.

What do your duties entail?
Finding volunteers and mentors, making sure teams at all levels have what they need, helping events run successfully, hooking teams up with opportunities. Being a FIRST Senior Mentor has to be the best job in the world!

What is your favorite memory from FIRST?
That’s tough, it is al good. The rookie kit bot build we do with FRc3295 has to be the most rewarding and memorable event I’m involved with every year. Seeing the amazement when a team builds their first robot is best!

Do you have any advice for rookie teams?
Don’t be afraid to reach out or ask for help. There are lots of teams nearby just waiting for the chance to help.

For all teams?
See my response for rookie teams. Either ask for help if you need or lend a hand where you can.

When Rick isn’t working with students, judging events, or playing with robots he is a business analyst for Sage Software in Irvine, CA. When asked for advice for all other mentors, new and returning, he said, “Stay sane and when the workload becomes too much, just remember why you are mentoring a robotics team. You do make a difference in the lives of your team.” Part of Sisk’s role as Senior Mentor is to help teams in need, especially pointing them towards resources that they may otherwise not know is available. If you’d like to contact Rick you may find his contact information below, he says, “[Contact me] before problems become big and difficult to fix, or just about anytime really.” We promise he doesn’t bite!

Rick Sisk, FIRST Senior Mentor


In Los Angeles there are two Senior Mentors. Stay tuned for a future post to introduce Eileen Kahn.


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