Woodie Flowers Nomination: Jeanne Boyarsky

Jeanne Boyarsky, Team 694’s mentor, has dedicated herself to FIRST for four years. In that time, not only has she volunteered at the NYC Regional, served as a judge for FLL competitions, and co-run NY FIRST’s presence at the World Maker Faire, but the significance of her programming mentoring can be seen across all divisions of our team. Jeanne’s passionate and professional involvement with robotics has not only led our team to success, but has also taught us valuable skills that will be useful for years to come.

A technology expert in the banking industry, Jeanne’s experience and leadership skills have allowed her to teach professionalism in software development and effective communication among team members. Her friendly attitude has also transformed many new members who are at first shy and undecided into experienced and confident veterans, inspiring them to further pursue their interests in STEM. As Blake Elias, a StuyPulse senior, said, “Jeanne is patient and she sits down with new members to talk to them, explore their potentials, and make them feel involved”.

Jeanne joined our team the year that Java was introduced as a language for teams. As a professional Java developer and with her expert explanations and demonstration, Jeanne was able to teach us how to code in Java from scratch. That same year, Jeanne led our team to develop a control system that won the Innovation in Control Award at the NY Regional.

Aside from teaching us version control, unit testing, and software debugging practices, Jeanne taught us to be strategists and to maximize our time and efficiency. Jeanne standardized our procedures on documenting information and resources. She taught team members to collaborate and to write code that others can understand.

To Jeanne, robotics is not only about building a robot. As she says, “There are all the subtle things that become part of them, like team work. When they don’t realize they are learning, they learn more.”

Jeanne’s involvement goes beyond StuyPulse. Not only has she recruited many new mentors for rookie teams, but when Jeanne heard that the Steel Hawks did not have a programming mentor, she began assisting them as well.

Patricia Daly, regional director of New York FIRST, has said, “Jeanne is one of the key volunteers in our FIRST Robotics program in NYC …. She is an ambassador … for FIRST and her efforts have gotten us new financial sponsors and coaches/mentors for new teams.” Jeanne also acts as a liaison between StuyPulse and FIRST. She mobilized our team throughout the beta testing process. Her blog has helped record the growth of our team and her presence has encouraged many female students to join FIRST.

Jeanne encourages others to discover their own talents. Her Socratic Method of giving advice as questions makes members think and allows them to be decisive.

How does Jeanne explain her dedication? “Watching them grow from knowing nothing, to discovery, to mastery, is why I am on the team. I love to watch them learn.”