BHS Junior Named FIRST Dean’s List Finalist

Bensalem High School Junior Ethan Zhao, a member of the Bensalem High School robotics team The Fightin’ Robotic Owls, was named a Dean’s List Finalist last weekend at FIRST Mid-Atlantic District Championships which were held from March 19 through April 7th.

FIRST Mid-Atlantic is the brand pseudonym for Mid-Atlantic Robotics, a New Jersey Non-Profit created in October 2010 with the encouragement of FIRST, Manchester, NH. Their mission is to promote and implement FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) programs for the benefit of all FRC teams in our region which spans all of Delaware, New Jersey, and counties in Pennsylvania from Harrisburg eastward.

Named after FIRST Robotics Founder Dean Kamen, the FIRST Robotics Dean’s List recognizes outstanding student leaders within the FIRST community who demonstrate exceptional technical expertise, leadership, and a commitment to spreading STEM education. Being nominated for the Dean’s List signifies recognition for one’s significant contributions to the FIRST program, serving as a role model and inspiring others in the pursuit of robotics and innovation.

Ethan was nominated for this prestigious award by his fellow teammates on the robotics team.

In his nomination essay, Ethan’s teammates had this to say about him:

“Ethan is a passionate leader who leaves his mark on those he meets. His voice bellows through the lab and his charisma, knowledge and confidence carry with it. Throughout any [team] meeting he can be found engaging with other subteams, driving conversations and demonstrating the value of asking questions…. He understands a team is only as strong as its members, and pushes every student to be their best.”

In addition to the written essay submitted by his teammates, Ethan also had to participate in two rounds of interviews. Says Ethan, “Becoming a Dean’s List Finalist would not have been possible without all the support behind me from my friends and Mentors on the amazing robotics team. Even though it’s an individual award, I am honored to represent Team 5401 at FIRST World Championships.”


Ethan, along with three other finalists from this region, will find out at a special luncheon at FIRST Robotics World Championships next week in Houston, Texas if he has been selected as one of the ten Dean’s List Award Winners.

As a winner, he would receive:
– A unique trophy and recognition at FIRST World Championships
– A written letter of recommendation from FIRST Robotics leadership to the college(s) or
employer(s) of his choice
– A team registration credit towards next season’s $5,000 registration fee
– Invitation to a Dean’s List Award Summit at FIRST Robotics HQ in Manchester, NH
– Exclusive access to the Woodie Flowers Memorial Grant–an annually renewable $10,000 grant towards college tuition.

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