2018 Robotics Challenge Winner Announced

Jacob Barnes headshot

Jacob Barnes of Orcutt, California, is the winner of the 2018 NFPA Robotics Challenge Scholarship. This scholarship program awards $40,000 ($10,000 per year for four years) to a high school senior who participates in a FIRST® Robotics or National Robotics League Competition Team and uses fluid power in the competition robot. It may be used to study engineering at any accredited technical college or university in the United States.

Here is a little bit about Jacob, in his own words:

I was born and raised in Orcutt, California and attended Orcutt Academy High School. My hobbies include singing tenor in a barbershop quartet, participating in FIRST robotics, playing video games (of course), and I am a third-degree black belt in Shaolin Kenpo.

I spent four informative years on my high school’s FIRST team, 3512 Spartatroniks, where I was on the electrical sub-team and the Electrical Lead my senior year. Team 3512 qualified for the FIRST World Championships 3 out of the 4 years I was on the team. FIRST provided me with a tremendous amount of real-world, job-like experience.

I will be pursuing a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering at my dream school, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, taking advantage of their 4 + 1 masters program and their “learn by doing” philosophy. This scholarship will help tremendously, allowing me to focus more on my studies instead of having to worry about finances.

I am very thankful for the opportunity given to me by the NFPA, and I am looking forward to being a part of the bright future of the fluid power industry.

The NFPA judges who interviewed Jacob were impressed by his knowledge of pneumatics, his initiative and plan to mentor FIRST Robotics teams. Thank you to all of our judges: Andrew Kleitsch of Caterpillar, Bill Haley of FORCE America, Jim Kaas of Iowa Fluid Power, Bob Hammond of Deltrol Fluid Products, Bradlee Dittmer and Charles Werdehoff of IMI Precision, Tom Peterson of HUSCO, Frank Langro of Festo, Jonathan Steigerwald of Gates Corporation, Larry Davis of Daman, and Barb DeCesare of Hydraforce. This year, we received 105 applications for this scholarship, which helps to create awareness in high school students about the benefits of fluid power and the many exciting careers.

If you would like to be a judge for next year’s Robotics Challenge Scholarship applications, please contact Lynn Beyer at lbeyer@nfpa.com or (414) 778-3364.