Tech Cube Director Matt Fagen recently received the Woodie Flowers Award, a prestigious international leadership award from FIRST Robotics. Matt was chosen from more than 200 regional award winners around the world to receive this award, based in large part on an essay that his students submitted in support of him.
While Fagen's resume is quite impressive, perhaps most impressive is the relationships he fosters with students. According to his students, "Matt Fagen is the conductor that breathes life into our orchestra. However, this is no ordinary orchestra; this orchestra is made of innovators, thinkers, designers, programmers, engineers, and dreamers."
Over his time at TAS, Matt Fagen has pioneered many new STEAM programs and initiatives at TAS. Again, in the essay application, his students said, "As Head of the Robotics & Computer Science (CS) Department at Taipei American School, he introduced four new robotics competitions—VEX, ROV, RoboCup, and FRC—and expanded the Robotics & CS curriculum from two to 18 courses. From a neglected storage room to a six-story Tech Cube robotics facility, basic tools to state-of-the-art machines, a 12-person FRC team to one with over 150 members, Team 4253 has risen out of nothing and undergone an incredible transformation. The single constant through it all? Our mentor, Mr. Fagen."
Fagen has a degree in both physics and music composition. He integrates concepts from both of these majors into his teaching philosophy: improvisation, experimentation, and spontaneity.
His students say that he fosters a "special bond" with each student and accommodates their needs, coming into the lab as soon as the sun rises and staying until the next sunrise. (I'm sure his family wishes that this were a figure of speech, but please know that this writer means it quite literally, especially during FRC and VEX robotics season.)
Matt was originally awarded the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award two years ago, which made him eligible for this championship award. This award recognizes all of the time and energy he has spent in inspiring students in engineering and design. According to the FIRST organization, the Woodie Flowers Award celebrates effective communication in the art and science of engineering and design.
Dr. William Murphy founded this prestigious award in 1996 to recognize mentors who lead, inspire and empower using excellent communication skills.
TAS students are thankful for such an inspirational mentor - and the rest of our community of faculty, staff, and administrators are thankful to be able to work with such a driven colleague.
In addition to his Tech Cube direction and teaching duties, Matt Fagen also serves TAS as the Dean Kamen SIGMU Robotics Chair and the Corning Chair in Robotics & Innovation.