My Journey





I have been a part of the FIRST program now for a decade, and it has been a huge part of my life. I went through every single one of their programs, including Jr. FIRST Lego League (JFLL from K-1 grade), FIRST Lego League (FLL from 2-7 grade), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC 8 grade), and FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC 9-10 grade). I learned things ranging from gracious professionalism, to presenting in front of business leaders, to building a robot from scratch. I worked with teams with both only a couple members and forty members.

During my last year in FLL (7th grade), my team was an overall champion of the NKY region and overall champion of KY State. We were lucky enough to have a bid to go to the World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, and it was an incredible experience. I was able to meet teams from all around the world in the team pit, seeing robot designs that I hadn't even be able to imagine.

My first year in FTC was very successful, especially in outreach. We won awards at the Ohio Central Regional Tournament (1st Motivate award, 3rd Promote award, 2nd Connect award), KY State (2nd Inspire award, 2nd Connect award, 1st Promote award, Rockwell Collins Innovate award, PTC Design award), Super Regionals in Texas (1st Connect award), and World Finals (finalists for Connect award).


FIRST has made me want to pursue studies in Computer Science or engineering. Other than the robotics side, I have loved giving back to my community.

My FTC team found sponsors and business leaders to support and make the Makerspace real. Along with creating the ideas, business plans, and budgets for the first NKY Makerspace, we raised over $100,000 for the project. Now, there are several school field trips and classes that promote hands on STEM learning to students.

Also as part of our outreach, my team helped to create, fundraise for, come up with designs, the name, and courses for the Ignite Institute, the first Northern KY STEAM high school. We worked with the KY Governor, and received a grant of $6.8 million . The school is scheduled to open in fall 2019.


Governor's Cup


Awards (middle school)

Awards (high school)

I have been participating in Governor's Cup since fourth grade. Since then, I have been a part of my schools' quick recall teams, along with taking the math and arts & humanities written tests. Not only is math my best and favorite subject, but since I also like art, I thought it would be beneficial to learn about art history. 

At sixth grade showcase, I won 1st place in math written test, 4th place in Arts & Humanities written test. My team won first in Quick Recall, along with being overall champions. In seventh grade I had the chance to be part of my school's varsity team, and I won at districts (1st math written test, 1st quick recall, overall champions), regionals (1st math written test, 1st quick recall, overall runner ups), and state (quarterfinalists quick recall). In eighth grade (also on the varsity team), I won at districts (1st math written test, 5th arts & humanities, 1st quick recall), regionals (1st math written, 2nd arts & humanities written, 1st quick recall), and state (3rd math written).

Freshman year, I decided to take the composition test instead of arts & humanities because I wanted to work on my writing skill. I won at districts (4th math written, 2nd composition, 1st quick recall, overall runner ups) and at regionals (2nd math written, 1st quick recall, overall runner ups).

Sophomore year at JV Challenge, I won 1st for the math and composition written tests and my team won 1st for quick recall and overall.

John O' Bryan



I have been competing in the annual John O' Bryan math competition since high school. It is a NKY regional competition where I competed in both the 9-10th grade and 11-12th grade divisions.


Freshman year, I won 1st for the individual test in the 9-10th grade division, 3rd in the varsity 2-person speed round, and 3rd varsity overall.

Sophomore year, I won 1st for the individual test in the 9-10th grade division, 1st in the varsity 2-person speed round, and 1st varsity overall.


Odyssey of the Mind

I competed in Ootm for about eight years, going to the World Finals three times. Unfortunately, the team disbanded after our coach moved to a different school district, however I learned a lot from my experience. Ootm really helped me to speak in front of large audiences and now I have no problem with presenting. I also learned about creative thinking, both through Spontaneous (creatively coming up with solutions to problems within limited time), the performance, and making the props. Because we were graded based on creativity, we tried making our props very unique and out of trash materials (as there was also a budget).

One of the many perks of going to the World Finals was pin trading, which is very popular. Most teams design their own pins and trade them with other teams to create a collection. It was by far my favorite thing about going to Worlds!

© Mina Ryumae 2019

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