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FIRST Volunteer Hanson Chan in action

Meet Hanson Chan – FIRST Alumni + FIRST Global Volunteer

Hanson Chan is a FIRST Alumni, recently a part of FIRST Tech Challenge team FIX IT #3491 and currently a student in Computer Systems at Camosun College. Read on to learn about his experience with FIRST, and volunteering with FIRST Global, an international Robotics event, the “Olympics of Robotics” held in Geneva Switzerland.

How did you get initially involved with FIRST? What did you love about your being on a FIRST team? 

I got into FIRST after learning about it at my school. The idea of building and programming robots was interesting, but the Outreach component truly caught my eye. The focus is on bringing STEM opportunities to those who may not experience it otherwise, creating events and workshops for your community.

What are you studying at University now, and how did your involvement with FIRST contribute to you successfully going into a STEM program?

I am currently studying Information and Computer Systems at Camosun College. I have always been interested in Software Development, but being in FIRST allowed me to connect with industry professionals, who helped to further guide and choose the correct pathway for me.

What transferable skills did you benefit from with FIRST, that you’re using now in University and in your work life? 

Being in FIRST, I was able to learn and develop many vital skills such as communication, leadership, and endurance; but the most important skill I learned was teamwork. The importance of working with your teammates, having effective discussions, to listen to everyone’s ideas – it is often the most inexperienced that has the best ideas. Teamwork is vital to everyday life; learning how to work with your fellow classmates or coworkers will allow you to progress much further than if you only work alone.

What recommendations do you have for youth wanting to get involved in STEM / Robotics? 

There is a stigma around STEM that it is an extremely challenging field to enter and that you must have a lot of experience. However, the only requirement you need to have is a willingness to learn. Find a class, club, or team, and just get started. Everyone starts somewhere and can learn along the way. If there isn’t one, start your own! And although it may seem a daunting task, I am personally willing to help you.

For example, there was a teammate who had previously never even touched a computer before joining robotics. However, by the start of the following year, they were the Computer-Aided Design lead for our team.

FIX IT 3491 – FTC Team from Victoria, BC

How was your experience with FIRST Global? 

FIRST Global is the most fun robotics experience I have had to date. I was able to meet teams and volunteers from all around the world. Everyone tackling the challenge using different ideas and perspectives, bringing their amazing innovations, stories, and cultures. It was amazing to see the diversity in the competition, everyone from all around the world, coming together for a united purpose, sharing their knowledge with one another.

What benefits do you see in volunteering with FIRST Global? 

Besides being able to meet people from all around the world, you also get to travel and explore a new country each year! In the past, FIRST Global has been held in Washington, DC, Mexico City, Dubai, and Geneva, Switzerland! Who knows where it could bring you next.

FIRST Global 2022 – Geneva, Switzerland

Anything else you’d like to share with us about FIRST

FIRST is an experience like no other. I was fortunate to be able to participate and compete in FIRST Tech Challenge, where I was able to meet amazing people, and have extraordinary experiences that changed my life forever, and continues to do so through volunteering. If you have the opportunity to get involved, whether through competing or volunteering, I encourage you to participate!

Find out more about Team Canada at FIRST Global

Team Canada was selected from British Columbia this year – find out more on their website: