Alvin Cheng’s excitement when solving technical challenges with limited resources started in high school. He spent time participating in FIRST® Robotics team competitions that presented him with the opportunity to gain insight into what the world of engineering was all about. Fast forward to his current role at BAE Systems as a Principal Test Engineer. Alvin’s passion has transitioned into his professional working environment, and he continues to give back to current high school students on the path to expertise in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
Alvin has been a volunteer and mentor with two important charitable organizations that promote and inspire young people to be leaders and innovators in the field of STEM for more than ten years. He became aware of the need for local FIRST® Robotics high school team mentors when he started working at BAE Systems. As a former FIRST® Robotics team member and graduate, Alvin followed his calling and not only assists with teaching engineering and technology skills or the building of robots, but also helps high school students improve soft skills such as team work and public speaking. BAE Systems, Inc. and FIRST® Robotics have enjoyed a synergistic partnership for more than 20 years and Alvin’s volunteerism lays a foundation for those preparing to join the industry in the future.
Alvin’s commitment to the future of STEM professionals doesn’t stop there. He also started volunteering as a competition judge and judge advisor ten years ago for Playing at Learning, an organization providing affordable and sustainable STEM programs to northern California K-12 students. The organization focuses on ensuring access and participation for underrepresented minorities and underserved youth.
Alvin is passionate about volunteering with these organizations because he wants current students to benefit from similar experiences to his own that led him on the path to his current career. He enjoys witnessing students gain confidence and skills over time. Some even come back into the FIRST® Robotics organization as mentors and volunteers after graduating, just like he did.
Alvin set student reach goals that drive unique hair design challenges. In the past few years he has proudly shown off various hair styles—from a purple mohawk, to a pineapple, to a multicolored lizard cut—as a result of his students meeting or exceeding their reach goal.