This week, we’re featuring Adrienne Emerson, an important mentor to many students and the community. Her love for engineering began in high school when she joined her school’s robotics team. She has been hooked ever since and continues to inspires her students with her passion. Adrienne expresses her adoration for robotics and helps us to understand her dedication towards her team, The Robowranglers. Make sure to learn more and gain insight on her life in and out of the lab below!
[Responses from October 9, 2016]
Name: Adrienne Emerson
CD Username: Adrienne E.
Current Gig/Job: Director of Robotics 9-12 at Greenville ISD
Alma Mater/Degree: Bachelors in Applied Math and Statistics, Clarkson University and Masters in Secondary Education, Texas A&M Commerce
Current Team(s): 148 The Robowranglers 2010-Present
Former Team(s): 191 The X-Cats 2000-2002, 229 Division by Zero 2003-2006
Location: Greenville TX
Hobbies: Cooking, Traveling, Playing with the best cats in the world (Tornado and Tumbleweed)
What inspired you to do what you do? Tell us a story.
I’ll never forget joining the X-Cats in high school. I was in 10th grade without a single clue what I wanted to do after high school. A couple of my friends had been on the team in 9th grade. They said I should join because then I could come to Disney World with them! That was enough of a hook for me. I interviewed for the team and was placed on the drive train sub-team. I worked very closely with 4 mentors from Xerox Jan Eldrigde, Jeff Huspen, Ron Dukes, and Ellery Wong. They are what inspired me. They pushed me to be curious, learn by doing, and to be confident in my skills. As cliché as it sounds, they changed my life. After being on 191, all I wanted to do was give back to students the same experiences that I got to have in high school.
What is your day job, and how’d you get there?
Currently I am the Director of Robotics 9-12 at Greenville ISD. I oversee the Intro to Engineering courses, The VEX program, and the FRC program, as well as organize all of our VEX events. I’ve previously taught Algebra 1, Geometry, Math Models, and Pre-Calculus.
How I got from New York to Texas is a classic, know the right people, in the right place, at the right time. After college I worked for 3.5 years at a glass manufacturer, Guardian Industries. It was a great experience and I learned a ton, but after 2 years on a swing shift I was ready to move on. The Robowrangler lead engineer John V-Neun and I went to college together and their robotics teacher had just left the school. The GHS principal asked John if he knew anyone that could teach math and lead the robotics team. I interviewed about week later and got the job!
What is your favorite story to tell about robotics?
All my memories from our team trips to China the past 2 years are definitely my favorite stories to tell. It’s amazing to watch the 148 students (and all the international teams) work with teams from China, develop friendships, and help build robots. The best part of those trips has been watching how much the student’s leadership skills grow in just 2 short weeks. And of course, I love how much closer we grow as a team while we are there.
If I had to narrow it down to one story it would be this past year. 148, 987, and 694 were on a 6-hour bus ride to go see the Yellow Mountains. To pass the time, we took over the microphone on the bus and took turns doing karaoke. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.
What’s your favorite robot that you didn’t help build?
This was probably the hardest question on the whole survey. There are so many to choose from.
I finally decided on Ratman and Bobin, the 2015, FRC#4587 Jersey Voltage robot 😛
In all seriousness, our whole team was really flattered by this robot! It was awesome.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? (Work/Robotics/Home)
Google Drive, Excel, Slack, Spotify, Amazon Prime
What’s your workspace setup like? (Work/Robotics/Home)
The robotics program at Greenville just got a new home in a brand new Career and Technology wing of our high school. My classroom is a great space with a standard teacher set up, desk, computer, projector, & document camera. The best part about is that there are whiteboards everywhere, and my coffee maker is within arm’s reach.
I spend most of my time in our robotics lab, which is basically a dream come true for me.
What do you listen to while you work?
Any old school music I think my students should love as much as I do.
What’s your schedule like during build season?
Monday, Tuesday, and Friday:
I get to work about 8am and have class until 3:50pm. After school I usually hang around the lab for some quiet time, try to catch up on anything school or team related, or I hang out with our
VEX teams if they have practice after school. Our team mentor dinner is from 5:30-6:00, and our whole team meeting is from 6:00-10:00pm.
Wednesday & Thursday: After school I typically take the night off from team stuff and go to bed early!
Saturday: I usually get to the school an hour or two before the rest of the team to open the building, clean up and get things ready for the day. Our scheduled meeting is from 1:00-10:00 pm but we are rarely out before 11 or 12.
Sunday: We try to take Sunday’s off as a whole team and I try to catch up on home life with lots of kitty cuddles.
Tumbleweed and Tornado
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Fake it till you make it – My Mom
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
True Crime podcasts (Serial, Undisclosed, Truth & Justice, etc.)
Fill in the blank. I’d love to see Clint Bolinger 2337 answer these same questions.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson