Our Mentors

Dawgma is guided and inspired by its mentors, both past and present. This is a complete list of all the amazing individuals who have volunteered their time to assist us over the years.

Current Mentors:

Bob Bellini 2008- Present

Bob Bellini, the chief mentor since 2013, is a computer systems architect and Lockheed Martin employee. Mr. Bellini volunteers countless hours of his time and expertise to Dawgma. His help made the transition to a new electronics system much smoother and has coordinated multiple elements of this year’s team, from the return of the CAD sub-team to the VEX instructional program.

Dr. Paul Gehman 2008- Present

Affectionately known as Dr. G, Dr. Paul Gehman is a software engineer and Lockheed Martin employee. Dr. Gehman generously donates his time to Dawgma, making it possible for us to take our programming efforts to a highly improved level

Sean Lavery 2007-Present

Sean Lavery graduated from Drexel University with a mechanical engineering degree. Currently, he is employed with the Navy as a civilian engineer. As an alumnus of team 116, he as a long history with FIRST and has provided 1712 with his expertise in mechanical design and competitive strategy. He also coaches matches. He is instrumental in Dawgma’s robot design and primary strategies.

Jessi Kaestle 2014 – Present

Jessi Kaestle is an Engineering specialist at Merck & Co. She is a heavily invested FIRST participant, an alumna from team 357 who also mentored teams 1394, 61, and 1735. Her experience with essay writing, PR, and scouting/strategy helped team 1712 immensely.

Kimberlee Model 2016 – Present

Kimberlee Model is a Dawgma alumna who used to run Dawgma’s programming team. She is currently a Computer Science Major at Drexel. Kimberlee is also currently a Software Engineering Intern in a Drexel Co-op with Lockheed Martin.

Former Mentors:

Rich Kressly 2005- 2010

Mr. Kressly is the founder and advisor of Dawgma. He has worked as a mentor of team 103 and a member of the FTC game design committee. He is a certified English and Technology Education teacher. He was the winner of a Woodie Flowers award at the 2009 DC Regional. His work with Dawgma focuses around logistics, personnel, community outreach, mechanical and electrical work.

Kevin Newman 2011-2016

Mr. Newman is another engineer at Lockheed Martin, who stepped in to help Mr. Bellini with the duties of head mentor in 2014. He mentors the team not only through his engineering expertise, but also his knowledge of software programming. His participation in Dawgma has greatly helped team efficiency and overall expertise.

Mark Piotrowski 2005- 2012

Mark Piotrowski is the head of the Technology Education department at Lower Merion High School. He is the sponsor and head of the Lower Merion TSA chapter. He is essential to the T&E club’s fundraising, outreach and leadership. Additionally, he teaches a CAD class during the year and helped many members of the CAD sub-team during the season.

Kevin Dieterle 2011-2015

Kevin Dieterle is an electrical engineer working for Lockheed Martin and a graduate from Purdue University. He has been involved with FIRST since high school and currently works with Space Systems at Lockheed. His mentorship has driven the team to create better electronics bays that are more efficient and effective in their tasks.

Mike Williams 2005-2008

Mike Williams was a Business and Finance major at St. Joseph’s University. He graduated in 2008. He is former member of FRC team 103 Cybersonics. His experience and knowledge were extremely helpful. He contributed to mechanical design and build and game strategy.

Katie Cooper 2005-2007

Katie Cooper is a math and computer science teacher at Lower Merion High School. She implemented the use of VEX robotics in LMHS computer science classes. She was essential in the beginning years of Dawgma, providing the necessary expertise to begin training students in programming.

Gene Guay 2006- 2012

Gene Guay is a physics teacher at Lower Merion High School. He mentors and manages Dawgma’s VRC team 1712. He was the chief mentor of the team in 2012, pulling the team together to build Geoffrey in Rebound Rumble after a particularly difficult year in 2011.

Jen Sand 2006-2008

Jen Sand is a biology teacher at Lower Merion High School. She contributed her enthusiasm and organization in the beginning years of 1712.

Alex Flaxenburg 2008-2012

Alex is also a 2006 graduate of Dawgma and pursued a Computer Sciences major at Penn State University. Alex was an essential mentor of the team for many years, especially in 2011 and 2012. He had a wide variety of robotics skills that he used in his mentorship of the team: prototyping and design, electronics, sensors, drivetrains, and manipulators.

Kathleen Schroeck 2008

Kathleen Schroeck is at Lower Merion High School Biology Teacher. She has provided herself as a chaperone and as teacher support.

Kim Arleth 2008-?

Kim Arleth is a chemistry teacher at Lower Merion High School. She joined Dawgma in the 2008-2009 competition season. She generously donates her time to chaperone competitive events and field trips

Dina Campagna 2008-2009

Dina Campagna is a TV studio teacher at Wissahickon High School. She is an active FIRST volunteer and also works with FRC team 357. She has provided great help with web site design, chairman’s entries and marketing/PR.

Mervyn Elder 2010-2013

Mr. Elder is a current physics teacher at Lower Merion High School. He uses his expertise to mentor the team and also helps organize team meetings. He primarily helps organize the events outside of the competitions.

Myreon Smallwood 2010

Myreon Smallwood is an engineer from Boeing, a testament to the team’s multiple mentorship connections with engineering companies. Myreon, a graduate from both Drexel University and the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology, mentored the team with his expertise in team dynamics and mechanical and digital tools.

Zachary Cohen 2011-2012

Zachary is a 2006 graduate of Dawgma and pursued a Technology Education major at Millersville University. Currently he mentors FRC team 1111, but also shares resources and personal expertise with his old team when he visits. He has helped the team with its organization and technology multiple times.

Heather VanHorn 2011-2012

Heather VanHorn is a Special Education teacher at Lower Merion High School. She has helped the team in its organization and in connecting the team to new students at the school. Because of her, many students with disabilities have had the opportunity to participate in FIRST.

Jonah Portman 2012-2014

Jonah, a 2011 graduate of Dawgma, volunteers his time as an alumni mentor during build season. He has donated many hours to the team, teaching students how to CAD and advising the team on robotics design.

Delia Votsch 2011-2013

Delia is a 2010 graduate of Dawgma and currently pursues Civil Engineering at Drexel University. She was honored in 2010 as one of the first winners of the Championship Dean’s List award and mentors the team captains and awards sub-team.