Woodie Flowers 2022: Chris Garrity

Triple Helix students are proud to submit the following Woodie Flowers Award nomination for mentor and alumni Chris Garrity.

Chris G, former Triple Helix student and current mentor, spends every day bringing his professional knowledge and unmatched enthusiasm for STEM to everything he does. From mentoring students on 2363 to helping organize FTC tournaments, he is a role model that all of our students aspire to be.

There is not a more supportive mentor than Chris G. Throughout Covid, our team meeting possibilities became more limited and could not access our workspace at the high school. Our team facilitates the Peninsula STEM Gym, but we were still not able to have large numbers of team members there. We were participating in the 2020 FRC challenges and Chris would meet team members there to let us work. Many days he sat for hours on his days off, supporting meetings so even one student could work all day on their project. He offered guidance when needed, but let the students take the lead.

While there are many ways to approach designing a FRC robot, Chris emphasizes an approach of rapid iterative prototyping that involves all students and teaches valuable hands-on experience. He inspires students by teaching them how to make their creative ideas into real designs. These same students use what they have learned to teach new students, creating a powerful cycle to keep all team members included and engaged.

Chris is constantly encouraging students to express their ideas. He shares thoughts on our Slack channel and encourages students to comment on the ideas and share their own, working together to strengthen our ideas. He encourages all students to contribute to the design of the robot since he acknowledges that everyone provides a unique perspective that gives our team a competitive edge. His enthusiasm during the season makes the hard work of FRC fun for all students.

He provides summaries of meetings to keep everyone on the same page, and documents significant mechanical findings to give people unable to attend meetings a clear idea of what the team was doing so they can contribute.

Chris clearly explains technical concepts to students so they feel they can make a significant contribution and share these concepts with other students. He serves as safety mentor and has written and presented information for the entire team about safe practices while fabricating the robot.

Chris G has changed our team for the better. He exhibits everything that FIRST stands for; through his passion for engineering, his enthusiasm and patience in working with students, and his true caring for all members of the team. His kindness, generosity, and desire to see us succeed has made us believe in ourselves, and this is what we will take with us, long after we move on from FRC.