More Than Robots
AREA is more than robots. Don't get us wrong building robots is AWESOME but to build a sustainable organization requires successful business development, management of operations and development and use of technology. AREA not only helps to build a strong foundation in STEAM for grades K-12 but also provides opportunities to learn and develop as a team (mentors, students, supporters, partners) and attain valuable skills in management and business development that apply to any field of work. These include:
Business Development: marketing, recruiting, fundraising, goals
Management: finance, schedules, scope, operating plans, teams, resources
Technology: assets, learning, safety, tools, machines, software
To learn more about the diverse people and backgrounds supporting AREA please see below. To learn more about the Programs we support click Programs
Rosie Robotics Co-Founder and Technical Advisor
Dana Henry has lived in Agawam, MA since 1985 has worked for Raytheon Technologies for 41 years, building and inspecting life support systems for NASA and the US Navy.. In 2002, Henry co-founded Rosie Robotics, FRC 839, with John Burns. Since then, Henry has expanded FIRST in all grade levels in Agawam, founded the Agawam Robotics Education Association, Inc. a 501(c) (3). Within FIRST Dana has served as organizer for FLL state qualifying tournaments, Senior New England FIRST Robotics Competition Lead Robot Inspector, Division Lead Robot Inspector at World Championships and FIRST Senior Mentor and the New England District Operations Committee. The FIRST Robotics program in Agawam has provided an opportunity for hundreds of kids to find out what they want to do with their future, either in engineering, entrepreneurship, teaching, manufacturing and many service industries.
Wendy Rua was born and raised in Agawam and is proudly raising her family here. Wendy has been affiliated with robotics since 2010, and has coached Junior and FIRST LEGO League Robotics teams and currently supports Rosie Robotics in FIRST Robotics Competitions. She works as a Program Coordinator at Mount Holyoke College and has served as a member of the Agawam School Committee since being elected in 2011. Her passion for robotics has a direct correlation to having seen the value of the hands-on enrichment this program offers which is far more than learning to build robots---- it's building the next generation of public speakers, marketing professionals, engineers, computer scientists, innovators and more!
Bernie Saroglou has lived Agawam since 2004 and participated as a coach and mentor in FIRST Lego League since 2017 and now Rosie's Robotics in FIRST Robotics Competitions. He works as a program manager at General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS) where the Business Development and Management skills the team learns in Agawam Robotics are directly applicable. In addition he has worked in the Bluefin Robotics business area of GDMS where Technology skills the team learns in Agawam Robotics are directly applicable.
Deanna LeBlanc has lived in Agawam since 2006 and participated as a parent in FIRST Lego League since 2018 and now as a mentor and parent for Rosie's Robotics in FIRST Robotics Competitions. In addition, Deanna is a coach for a FIRST Tech Challenge team, the Gateway Gearheads from Gateway Regional School District. She works as a Director of Curriculum, researching and making curricular decisions in STEM education throughout her work. She is also a certified Math Recovery Specialist and Math Recovery AVMR Champion, further supporting STEM education for all students.
Christina Fleagle has lived in Agawam since 2003 after relocating from California. She has volunteered as a coach and mentor in the FIRST Lego League, First Robotics Competition since 2014. Christina is now a volunteer and acting Treasurer for Rosie Robotics team 839 in the FIRST Robotics program. Christina works for The Center for Surrogacy and Egg Donation (CSED) which has no bearing on robotics, however she has worked for other volunteer organizations such as PTO and Cub/Boy Scouts for the past 9 years. The Robotics program is a huge asset to all students involved, teaching them life long skills, the importance of volunteering in the community, nurturing their love for STEM, and building lifelong friendships.
Rosie Robotics Faculty Advisor
Jack Barry has been a teacher since 1971 working 30 years in Holyoke Public Schools and has been a teacher in Agawam Public Schools since 2001. He currently teaches Tech Education at the Agawam Jr. High School where student learn engineering skills such as isometric drawing, computer aided design and usage of a variety of other tools. Jack has participated as the Faculty Advisor and mentor for Rosie Robotics since 2002 and continues to Build Futures. What he enjoys most about the program is seeing the kids grow over years where kids that may be quiet or shy are learning to work with and lead teams not only during their time at Rosie but as alumni have gone on to lead teams at NASA or Collins Aerospace. Rosie Robotics is an experience that you just won't get through High School only.
Prominent Agawam FLL and Rosie Robotics FRC Alumni
Kyle Henry was a member of both FLL and FRC from 2002 to 2004. He graduated in 2004 from Agawam High School and went on to pursue a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University graduating in 2009. He currently works as a Systems Engineer at General Electric Aerospace leading the Heavy-lift Turboshaft Engines Platforms and for more information you can check out his LinkedIn profile. "My FLL and FRC experience has taught me problem solving and teamwork, coopertition, are at the heart of what I learned. Things like how to break down a problem into smaller tasks and work on and with a multidisciplinary team to solve them. I also learned a lot about how to design and manufacture components, including how to design for manufacturing so components are able to be fabricated. I learned a lot as a student in the program about design, manufacturing, and system integration. I learned even more as a mentor and volunteer, 2005 and on. Things like how to coach and mentor. How to teach someone to complete a task instead of doing it for them."
Andrew Tang was part of the FIRST Tech Challenge (2007-2009), and Rosie Robotics Team #839 FIRST Robotics Competition (2009-2013). Upon graduating from Agawam High School in 2013 he went on to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2017 with a BS in Biological Engineering. He currently works as a Product Analytics Manager at Athenahealth and for more information you can check out his LinkedIn profile. "My FTC and FLL experience has taught me how to work on a team and with very tight project timelines in addition to analyzing metrics and articulating business values and decisions. I've recently moved back to Boston where I continue to volunteering for FRC events and have been since 2014. I'm always interested to chat with students about my career path and how my FIRST experience has helped me and encourage you to reach out at email@example.com."