Mentors

Team 694’s successes are not without the help of our mentors. We are extremely thankful for the help they provide to us and it is due to the valued contribution of each mentor that Team 694 has been able to change lives throughout its history.

Team 694 would like to thank any individual who has mentored us in the past, including the following people:

Current Mentors

Joe Blay

Joe Blay Joe Blay has had a tremendous impact on our team since his high school years. Joe Blay was a former StuyPulse student, graduating in 2009. While a student, he was an engineer and the main driver. After graduating, he made sure to stay with the team, despite his time studying in Stony Brook University. After graduating, he has come back to Stuyvesant to teach as well as coach StuyPulse. He mentors every aspect of the team in one way or another trying to make sure that every department of 694 is constantly growing. His main strengths are engineering and strategy. During competitions, he works on the drive team, as the coach, setting up our match strategy and making sure the drivers are ready to play as well as making sure that the strategy team is gets us ready for every match and the elimination rounds.

James Lonardo

James Lonardo has ceaselessly served our team for over eight years. He is essentially the “backbone of our team”. As an attentive mentor, James organizes all medical, contact, and trip forms, and signs us up for events. Not only was he devoted to our team, he was also a FIRST advocate on the streets. He even organized a competition for robotics classes with members of the U. S. Coast Guard, which inspired many children within and outside of school. His supportive attitude and contribution is indispensable to our team.

Read about Mr. Lonardo in his Woodie Flowers nomination »

Tom Ferguson

Tom Ferguson is an engineer with years of experience. He serves as Vice President of Engineering at Cox and Co., the industry leader in aerospace design. He exhibits a polite personality and is a responsible leader. He has a will not of iron, but of aluminum honeycomb. And he is one of the most beloved and respected mentors of the Stuyvesant Robotics Team. Tom Ferguson has inspired generations of engineers on the team. Tom’s deft understanding of many mathematical and physical concepts in engineering is invaluable to us when we design and build our robot. He encourages us to use abstract formulas and laws to determine concrete requirements and limitations in our designs

Read about Tom in his Woodie Flowers Award nomination »

Ron Kunicki

Dedicated, resourceful, precise, compassionate, funny, - who is this jolly ole mentor who never fails to show up to save the day? None other than engineer and “father of the team,” Ron Kunicki. Not only has his easygoing nature captured our hearts and minds, his dedication to FIRST has given him an essential role on our team. When asked why he was so committed, he replied, “With team 694, my mind continues to be entertained, and sometimes I even have to go home and research the problems the team asks me.” Whatever the reason, Ron’s leadership and dedication have become a vital part of the team. Ron joined the team as a parent for his daughter Theo, who has graduated and is currently a student at MIT, yet he continues to return year after year.

Read about Ron in his Woodie Flowers Award nomination »

Joe “The Beast” Ricci

He joined the team in its second year, and since then, he’s never left. While attending medical school, he has devoted more hours to our team than any other mentor, parent, or member in the eight years he has been with us. On graduating in 2003, Joe acquired a heightened sense of purpose, responsibility, and integrity that contributed greatly to his success in medical school and his research pursuits. As one of the driving forces behind our team, he strives to foster in us the same values that FIRST instilled in him.

Read about Joe in his Woodie Flowers Award nomination »

Dan Lavin

Dan Lavin Dan Lavin was integral in helping us use this year’s new control system. He pored over manuals with us and contributed to everything electronics-related, including wiring signal lights and bringing in old security cameras to scrap for potentiometers. He was key in learning how to use the new camera and make precise movements in autonomous mode.

Jeanne Boyarsky

Jeanne Boyarsky Jeanne Boyarsky has volunteered since 2010 as a Java programming mentor in addition to her volunteering at CodeRanch. She has not only provided invaluable guidance with code, but also has kept us organized, and helped lead us to our Innovation in Control award in 2010. Jeanne even found time to write three Java books (and mentioned 694 in all of them). She has also spoken at several conferences.

Read about Jeanne in her Woodie Flowers Award nomination »

Jim Potter

Jim Potter James Potter was invaluable to the engineering department this year. In the words of President Seth Berg, “When I first saw him, I thought he was an old mentor who decided to come back.” Jim jumped right into the robotics spirit, attended numerous meetings and competitions, and offered innovative solutions that greatly improved the robot, such as the empty cell holder.

Catherine Kunicki

Catherine Kunicki, like her husband Ron, joined the team as a parent for her daughter Theo. Even though Theo graduated in 2008, Catherine comes back every year. She mentors our marketing team helping them come up with fantastic ideas for marketing the team at and away from the competitions.

Mel Hauptman

Mel likes to shake things up. There is no point in the season where he isn’t saying that something is wrong with the robot. This lack of satisfaction constantly keeps all of us on our toes. Mel continues to come to meetings every year to help make us improve year after year.

Justin Kim

Justin Kim Justin Kim is another StuyPulse success story. After graduating Stuyvesant as the President of Software Engineering in 2015, he started working as a software engineer at DigitalOcean. Since graduating, he has come back to mentor engineering, SE, and marketing.

Evan Forbes

Evan Forbes has been mentoring SE since January 2017. He was previously a member of team 3507, Ubotics, and is now working at Google NYC. After moving to New York City, he became involved in NYC First and joined StuyPulse as a mentor. He’s an expert on the yearly updates for the control systems, helping us update radios and learning the new WPILib.

Fritz Heckel

Samantha Unger

Previous Mentors

Rafael Colón

Rafael Colón Rafael gives his time generously all year long. Our team is able to work in our school’s lab until nine at night after school, on weekends, and throughout school vacations only because he is willing to be with us. Rafael is so completely dedicated that three years ago, when he sustained a life-threatening injury in our lab, he not only called us every day to see how things were going, but also made the robotics lab his first stop after being discharged from the hospital. Rafael’s spirit that robotics is your home away from home” has become the StuyPulse mantra.

As a teacher, Rafael knows how to guide members without doing their work for them. He starts off the day with a team-wide meeting where everyone, from president to newbie, figures out exactly what to do, how to do it, and what is needed to accomplish it. By holding us strictly to our deadlines, we are taught time management skills. More significantly, Rafael emphasizes teamwork above victory. When tempers flare in the lab, he reminds us that what we’ll remember years from now are the people we worked with, not the matches we won.

Rafael was selected by New York 1, the local news channel at NYC, as the New Yorker of the week for his hardwork, commitment, and contributions. The article and the video for the report can be found here!

Although Rafael has now retired, we are thankful for all the insight he has given us throughout the years.

Read about Mr. Colón in his Woodie Flowers Award nomination »

Seth Berg

Mark Cohen

Robert Lin

Robin Blumberg

James Carpino

Paul Desiderio Sr.

Robert LaMarca

Adam Leeb

Stephen Hilton

Colin Holgate


Interested in becoming a mentor?

We seek mentors who are specialists or hobbyists in engineering design, machine operation, programming, or marketing, and who are willing to work with highly motivated students from NYC's most highly rated science high school!

For inquiries about mentoring opportunities, contact us!