Meet Our Alums
Iron Plaid alums leave our team with the skills, confidence, and motivation they need to become responsible, active, and engaged citizens of a changing world. Look below to see the amazing paths our alums have taken, and how Iron Plaid has helped them on their journeys even after graduation!
Kayleigh Head (2013-2017)
- Attends Case Western Reserve University, studying Chemical Engineering
- Planned career: "Dream job is to do work on developing processes for more efficient spacecraft."
- Most useful skill learned:
"Aside from learning technical skills, I learned how to handle myself in a position of leadership and how to a more confident, complete person."
- How did Iron Plaid inspire you? "Iron Plaid helped me find a passion and identity, and I'm forever grateful for that."
Ariel Tarrand (2013-2017)
- Attends the University of Florida, studying Biological Engineering
- Planned career: "I want to either work at a biotech company or start my own."
- Joined the team because "I saw Iron Plaid do a demonstration and I thought 'I have to be a part of that'"
- Most useful skill learned: "CAD and how to accept the fact that your hard work may be obsolete by the time you finish it. In other words, you work really hard on something but then it turns out that the design needs to be changed."
Marybeth Goundry (2013-2017)
- Attends the University of Houston, studying Computer Engineering
- Most useful skill learned: "problem solving and teamwork"
- Joined the team because "I just wanted to try something new" and "ended up loving it. And it was one of the things that changed my mind about wanting to choose engineering as a major."
- Favorite memory: "The first time I saw our robot in the field and know I helped make it; It’s super cool to see when something you make work and succeed like it did my freshman year."
Grace Flores (2015)
- Attends Texas State University, studying Applied Mathematics
- Planned career: "I'm caught between wanting to do math my whole life or put my problem solving skills to the test and pursue law and criminal defense."
- Joined the team "because it looked like a lot of fun. I really liked math and problem solving, and had heard fun things about joining and it seemed like a good fit."
- Most valuable skill: "I learned a lot about group problem solving and the brainstorm process. I also learned how to use a saw which was pretty cool. And if something doesn't work the first time it's ok to take a step back and rework the problem to make everything fit together and work."
Ravali Reddy (2011-2015)
- Attends Texas A&M University, studying Psychology, Business, and Neuroscience
- Planned career: psychologist
- Joined the team because "I had nothing better to do and my closest friend at the time was joining too. I also considered engineering and wanted to see if that's something I wanted to pursue."
- Most useful skill learned: "probably writing grants and trying to get sponsors. Building a robot is one thing but fundraising was something that I had to really work on."
- Favorite memory: "When we went to worlds my senior year. I think since it was also my last competition as a member of Iron Plaid I made sure to make the most of that trip."
Maria Noguera (2012-2014)
- Attends the University of Houston Honors College, studying Architecture
- Planned career: to start "my own architectural firm. I am mainly interested in adapt and reuse type projects, and LEED sustainability."
- Most useful skill learned: "I became a much more confident and level headed person because of my time on the drive team and [as] drive team coach."
- Favorite memory: "I loved training the new drive team senior year and seeing them try their hardest at Championship... I [also] loved all of our car rides to the Alamo Regional."
- How did Iron Plaid inspire you? "Iron Plaid definitely kick started my love and passion for design... I loved sitting down with our mentors and brainstorming through different solutions."
Casey Gomez (2011-2014)
- Attends Georgia Tech, studying Chemical Engineering
- Joined the team because "all my friends were on the team and I wanted to spend more time with them, but once I joined I was invested. I loved meeting other people on the team and creating something."
- Favorite memory: "singing in the middle of the night at Duchesne with my closest friends and getting pulled by the robot."
- How did Iron Plaid inspire you? "Robotics helped push me towards engineering and eventually toward Georgia Tech. I loved chemistry so chemical engineering seemed like the perfect major."
Christine Gebara (2008*-2012)
- Graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Aerospace Engineering
- Currently a mechanical engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "I can directly trace the path to my current career starting at Duchesne and Iron Plaid specifically."
- Favorite memory: "The competitions were always the highlights. Going to the FIRST World Championships in 2012 was definitely the best moment. Being surrounded by people who shared a common goal was very special."
- How did Iron Plaid inspire you? "Iron Plaid introduced me to the idea of making things. Having an idea and then being able to see it come to life was not something I had experienced before."
*in 2008, Christine participated in the Duchesne BEST team that predated Iron Plaid.
Sofia Avendano (2008*- 2012)
- Undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences. Currently a graduate student in Hydrology
- Planned career: environmental consultant
- Joined the team "because my carpool buddy was in robotics."
- Favorite memory: "my first year we made it to the finals. We were so excited to be there and see what we had build compete with the best; it was a great experience."
- Most useful skill learned: "the technical skills have come in handy quite a bit in college. Also learning to work as a team with lots of different personalities was very useful."
*in 2008, Sofia participated in the Duchesne BEST team that predated Iron Plaid.
Hannah Hoffman (2007*-2012)
- Graduated from Clemson University with a degree in Civil Engineering
- Currently a pipeline engineer for CenterPoint Energy in Houston
- Joined the team because "I always liked puzzles. From building to fundraising and strategy, all the competition is puzzles to be worked and solved. And it was really fun!"
- Favorite memory: "The first year we went to three competitions (two regionals and St. Louis), it was so fun to get to see a showcase of all the amazing builds and also get to spend time traveling with the team."
- How did Iron Plaid inspire you? "It inspired me to be a leader and use what I learn to help other people. Being hands-on gives a much stronger connection to engineering than only ever working on paper. You literally bring engineering to life."
*in 2007-2008, Hannah participated in the Duchesne BEST team that predated Iron Plaid.