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"It is so amazing to see things that I did in FIRST actually being applied in a real world setting."

- Sabrina Varanelli, Mechanical Engineering Student, WPI



Sabrina Varanelli

From FIRST to BAE Systems Intern

Back in high school, Sabrina Varanelli was the founder of her FIRST Robotics team at Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, NJ. Having just completed her freshman year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Sabrina is employed as a summer intern by BAE Systems in Wayne NJ.

Sabrina's FIRST team (a tournament winner at both New York City and New Jersey in 2007) is sponsored by BAE Systems and mentored by employees at the company's Electronics & Integrated Solutions Network System's facility in Wayne. BAE Systems is also a major sponsor of the FIRST Robotics Competition held in Manchester, NH.

"It is so amazing to see things that I did in FIRST actually being applied in a real world setting," said Varanelli. "I remember coming to BAE Systems for a tour, and being amazed and very excited that management and robot design and production concepts we were using on our FIRST team were similar to those being used here."

Varanelli is majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in both robotics engineering and management. Her role as an intern includes working a process development software project and the development of the laser component locating feature, a robotic table which will have a laser attachment.

"Sabrina will be using her mechanical design knowledge to help us evaluate and determine the best use of resources for mechanical design review and three dimensional computer aided design model review and implementation," said Jay Hinerman, Varanelli's supervisor at Wayne.

"This sets a wonderful precedent in coming full circle," said Vince Frascella, E&IS mentor and manager at Wayne. "Volunteer mentors are providing technical assistance to high school robotics teams, whose bright young minds aspire to work for companies such as BAE Systems."

So far, New Hampshire-based BAE Systems facilities have hired three college recruits as a result of the FIRST intern program, according to Steve DiOrio, director of E&IS Mechanical Engineering and FIRST coordinator at Nashua, N.H. This summer, 23 FIRST interns will work for BAE Systems, with eight eligible for full-time positions in 2008, said DiOrio. Interns are generally hired during summer breaks of high school or college. It takes several years for them to become eligible as fulltime employees.

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