National TSA Officer Blog

September 2017
Aala Nasir
National TSA President

On behalf of the national officer team I am pleased to welcome you to the 2017- 2018 school year. Every year I find myself saddened by the conclusion of summer vacation but quickly overjoyed at the thought of jumping into another TSA season.

Speaking of summer, the national TSA officer team met in Reston, Virginia in July to plan and develop our program of work for the upcoming year. Among the work we accomplished was developing the new TSA hashtag, #WeAreTSA. Needless to say, the national officer team is ecstatic and honored to have the opportunity to serve this amazing organization that has shaped us into the individuals we are today!

I am certain I am not alone when I say that TSA has been an integral part of my personal growth. Whether it is learning how to speak in front of a large audience, code applications, or problem solve, TSA has taught me lessons that stretch far beyond a curriculum framework. This phenomenal organization continues to produce the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders and that is a feat to celebrate.

As an organization a quarter million members strong we celebrate because we are able to accomplish more because we work together. Through the networking that is done across our state borders and collaboration with other officers and teammates, the bonds created in TSA last a lifetime. There is not one person that is completely responsible for the success that TSA has achieved thus far rather the credit belongs to the advisors, parents, and participants in TSA for the last forty years. It is because of you and the many that came before you that TSA is the great organization it is today. How fitting we celebrate these accomplishments at the upcoming 2018 National TSA Conference embracing the conference theme A Celebration of Success!  

Join me today in using #WeAreTSA throughout the year to celebrate your chapter and state accomplishments as part of the world’s premiere STEM-based career and technical student organizations, TSA.

We are learning to lead the technical world. We are the innovators, discoverers, and achievers of tomorrow. We are the future. #WeAreTSA.

 

May 2017
Erin Sullivan
National TSA Secretary

Many high school students look forward to one spring event: the prom. I will admit I had always wanted to go to prom. However, last spring as prom season approached I realized that my school’s prom fell on the same weekend as my TSA state leadership conference. I was heartbroken. I was on the prom planning committee and I found that I was diligently working to create a perfect prom that I would not get to attend. I even got up the courage to ask my principal if the date of prom could be changed but it wasn't to be.

Although I was disappointed, I had to reflect on what really mattered to me. I decided that one night filled with a few friends, gorgeous gowns and fancy meals could not replace a weekend at my state leadership conference. I have been a member of TSA since I was in sixth grade and missing a conference was not an option. I love TSA too much to even think about missing my favorite weekend of the year!

Luckily, that spring I did get a taste of what it would be like to go to a prom; I attended a prom at another school as the guest of my friend and I am grateful for that.

This year, I have learned that my school's prom and the state leadership conference are again on the same date. I will be unable to attend my school’s prom so like last year I took this news in stride. Throughout this entire experience, I learned a valuable lesson. I found that you aren’t always able to do everything you would like to do. Life is about choices. Some are easy and some are more difficult. When faced with a difficult choice take a look at your priorities. Choose the option that will help you and make you a better person because of it. I know that I have made the right choice these past two years and I will never regret spending that time with thousands of other students just like me.

April, 2017
Zac Quinby
National TSA Vice President

If you are looking for something to challenge you, push you, and humble you there is no better way than to train a dog for a purpose. You are not just training a dog to be a better dog but to perform service for others.

This past year I took on the challenge of training a beautiful German Shepard husky to be a service dog. I named my dog Luna because I received her on a night with a full moon. The reason I chose this specific service is because of the unlimited good you can do for others and the satisfaction that comes from it. You can visit hospitals and nursing homes with your dog and hopefully bring a little bit of joy to some patients during your visit. Some dogs provide emotional support to those with varying illnesses. It's important to note that when you train a service dog, the dog has the ability to become your dog. While training Luna she has become part of our family and a best friend.

Deciding to start this journey was actually very simple; I had a reason to want to help. My grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer thus leading to several dreary days in the hospital. Our spirits really began to drop after ten straight days in the hospital when something magical happened. A beautiful Golden Retriever named Molly walked into my grandmother’s hospital room. Our faces lit up. My grandmother began to giggle and smiled brightly and for a moment, everything was at peace. After losing my grandmother in June I could not help but think about that moment that made her smile from that experience with Molly, the therapy dog. So I decided for my grandmother and women like her everywhere that I would train Luna to do exactly what that dog, Molly, did for my grandmother.

Without a purpose for training, a service dog you will quickly lose focus. Once you decide to train a dog to be of service to someone else you need to understand that it takes time, hard work, and dedication. You might think now that you can train your dog as you have time but that’s not the case. These service dogs in training need countless hours of attention and guidance.

Starting off, my dog wanted to chew on everything and I thought I could break this habit as I had time but that wasn't going to work. So I immediately set aside more time to help monitor her behavior and to correct negative behavior as it happened.

We found a great training program at a nationally known pet store that offers the basic level classes and prepares you and your animal for the more difficult classes. We drove three hours every week to go to training. The classes I took with Luna helped with her day-to-day obedience. It also truly helped me in the knowledge of dog training and how to react to things. For example, you don’t want a service dog to be taught out of violence because they will have more of a violent tendency.

I learned so much that I never even thought possible. Luna and I participated in the basic classes learning; come, sit, stay — skills every dog needs to know. When we graduated from this class we went on to a more advanced class with more difficult routines. For example, she had to be able to find me from a distance in a crowded store. After the dog and I passed this class we moved on to a K-9 citizenship test. This is where you and your dog have to pass a test proving that your dog is a kind, loving, and obedient animal.

After this step you go on to train for a specific service such as a Seeing Eye dog, a dog for emotional health or even a diabetic alert dog. The whole training process takes several months to a year to complete. It is not quick nor is it easy. Your patience will be tested and you will think you should just quit but keep in mind the bigger picture. There are a huge range of services these animals can fulfill. In closing, there is no other project like training a service dog. There is something so humbling and beautiful about it. A service dog can better lives in insurmountable ways.

March, 2017
National TSA President
Jack Crawford

I have always believed that every single person has a unique talent or gift and that we all have a duty to our communities to use those gifts in a way that benefits those around us.

I actively take part in as many community service opportunities as possible but the one of which I am most proud took place my sophomore year of high school. That was the year I was a member of the 2015 Lowndes Leadership Youth League, a community oriented organization designed to educate high school students about different aspects of my county's economy, cities and respective governments and their representation and role in the state legislature.

In order to "graduate" from the program we were required to work in groups to select and assist a nonprofit organization in our area. My group of five chose the Lowndes County Children's Advocacy Center which works to provide legal protection and therapy for minors who have experienced abuse.

Our group of five led a fundraising campaign for three weeks raising a total of $2,620 for the center. We also consulted the center to learn what was needed most for the children and served and conducted several stuffed animal and snack food drives. One weekend we spread a new layer of mulch over the center's playground and we raffled gift baskets and pinwheels to raise awareness and funds for the center. In total, we orchestrated nearly a dozen individual events on behalf of the center and the most rewarding part of our efforts came the following year when the center announced that it would be able to build a desperately needed new facility with the additional funds raised the previous year.

It is easy to feel lost or small in today’s tumultuous political and social climate but we are a generation of light and of hope and we have an obligation to let our light shine so that others may see. In a country founded by the people, of the people, and for the people, the individual is very important. We can have a massive impact in our communities by simply having a desire to do so.

Take the opportunity now to get involved now and leave a legacy in your town or city. Check out the service project ideas on the National TSA website or get creative and start a unique project on your own. As we move towards defining our future in TSA this year let us also take time to define the future of our communities to ensure they continue to prosper and grow because of our involvement, not in spite of a lack thereof.

February, 2017
National TSA Sergeant-At-Arms
Lauren Kim

Since we will celebrate TSA Advisor Appreciation Week the week of February 13-17, I have reflected on the impact my advisors have had on my TSA journey. I joined TSA in ninth grade and was immediately impressed by the amount of dedication my advisors  put into making TSA memorable for the students. My advisors, Mr. Rickert, Mrs. Rickert, Mr. Evan, and Mr. Engel work diligently to make TSA accessible to everyone; they always provide unconditional support and resources for the members in our chapter.

Without my advisors, none of the success I have had in my four years as a TSA member would have been possible. During my freshman year, I semi-qualified at the national TSA conference for Future Technology Teacher. Extremely nervous for my presentation, I recited my presentation for hours the night before my interview. Mr. and Mrs. Rickert volunteered their time until late that night providing constructive criticism and tips. I earned first place for the event and I know that their support was influential in my success. Take the time to give thanks for everything your chapter advisor does, not only during TSA Advisor Appreciation Week but every week as well!

 

January, 2017
National TSA Reporter
Aala Nasir 

Happy New Year, National TSA! This is definitely one of my favorite times of the year as I look forward to watching the ball drop on New Year's Eve in Time Square, New York City. The holiday spirit is already in the air, smiles cover every face and joy overtakes us. With the new year comes thinking about resolutions. This time of year is meant for everyone to take time to self reflect. Think of all your good habits and those that need a little more work. Think of what you could do to make yourself a better person. Think of what you could contribute to better your school and community. Let’s make this year one full of growth and improvements. 

As a firm believer that we rise by lifting others, this year I strive to perform an act of kindness every day. Whether it be holding a door open for someone, helping an elder cross the street, or paying for someone’s meal - the main goal is to bring a smile to someone’s face. As cheesy as it sounds nothing makes me happier than making someone else happy. So in this new year I hope you will join me in paying it forward. I challenge you to make someone smile every day this year. As a member of TSA we are each blessed with a family of a quarter of a million people. Imagine all of the acts of kindness we could accomplish this year and the impact we could have on the world.

December, 2016
Javonate Williams
National TSA Treasurer

Like so many TSA members my favorite component of TSA are the competitions. In TSA we have the opportunity to select from over 60 middle and high school STEM competitions! We can choose the competitions we are most interested in and compete at the local, state and national levels.

My career path options include becoming a lawyer, teacher, and/or franchise owner. I choose Chapter Team as my favorite competition. Some may say Chapter Team is one of the most difficult competitions requiring a great deal of study time but I beg to differ. I have been involved in Chapter Team since I was in middle school and every year I continue to learn how I can become more skilled in competing in this competition. For me, having the opportunity to discuss a topic using Robert's Rules of Order is a very powerful feeling!

For members who are in the process of discovering their career path, a whole world of STEM competitions are open for you to explore. I strongly encourage you to compete in more than one TSA competitive event that interests you and you may find your career inspiration! So, what will be YOUR favorite TSA competition? Will it be centered around animatronics, robotics, architecture, biotechnology, coding, web design, flight, teaching, photography, fashion design, video production, video game design, power and energy, transportation, engineering, or graphic design? Don't forget to share with us your favorite TSA competition and how you are discovering your career path #MadeInTSA.

November, 2016
National TSA Secretary
Erin Sullivan

#blessed is one of the most popular social media hashtags we have all used more than a few times. But why is this hashtag so popular? From posting about getting to eat at our favorite restaurant to talking about our loved ones #blessed is so all-encompassing that it can be applied to almost any situation. 

During this month of giving thanks I encourage you to stop and think about all of the ways you have been blessed. 

Let’s focus on a blessing we enjoy but may sometimes take for granted: the family, in every sense of the word. We all enjoy the love of people we consider family whether it be in the biological or emotional sense of the word. 

In TSA we are all one big family. Each of us share a unique bond with 250,000 students from all walks of life. Have you ever stopped and thought about how amazing this is? Our advisors become parental figures that watch over the members of our family. As family members we all have unique talents and that is what makes us so interesting and connected to one another. Even more unique is our ability to connect with people from other parts of the world in ways that are distinct due to our organization. 

This month I encourage you to show your appreciation for your TSA chapter family. Organize an activity like a mini-Thanksgiving feast or a fun night out. Since we all talk about being #blessed let’s appreciate the reasons why we are so fortunate. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and I am very #blessed to have you as my family!

 

October, 2016
National TSA Vice President
Zac Quinby

There are countless service projects in each of our communities that need attention. Choosing the right one for your chapter can sometimes be challenging because there are so many projects to choose from — ranging from finding a food bank to helping update that outdated outdoor classroom at the middle school. Regardless, it’s important to choose a project and get going!

I find it best to get into the rhythm of service by making it your daily goal to find time to give service to others. For your chapter, a great service project can be as simple as volunteering at your local soup kitchen or holding a local clothing drive every month.

A service project I have found to be very rewarding and amazing for a community is holding a Thanksgiving food drive at your school. A Thanksgiving food drive is where you challenge each homeroom at your school to collect as many canned goods as possible and other foods you would like to see on a Thanksgiving table. You might even be able to get a coupon or two from your local grocery story for a free frozen turkey.

Before getting into any service project, get support and permission from your TSA advisor and principal, get in touch with your local crisis relief center to see what foods are accepted, where to take the food and collected items, etc. Set a due date and advertise the event.

Another option to consider is holding a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society (ACS), TSA’s national service project. More information on holding ACS fundraisers can be found here.

Service to others is a wonderful way to give back as a TSA chapter to your community — the community that has been there for you and helped shape you into the person you are today!

September, 2016
National TSA President
Jack Crawford

 

This past July when the national officer team met to create a program of work for the year, we also began brainstorming for this year’s hashtag campaign. We tested and retested many ideas and I remember the overwhelming, immediate agreement and content that filled the room when #MadeInTSA was chosen. 

I think the reason #MadeInTSA was so well liked is it connects to engineering and STEM values and it also encompasses so much more of the nature of TSA. We love the fact that life-changing apps and robots are made in TSA but so are people. We will be the future leaders and shapers of society who were made in TSA. The next engineers, social media moguls, fashion designers, software developers, and legislators will very likely have been made in TSA. And, perhaps most importantly, you and I are being made in TSA.

If you told me ten years ago I would be able to stand up in front of thousands of people and give a speech or run for any type of office I would have laughed. Growing up I was very shy outside of my house or with anyone that was not family. I chose to build Legos instead of relationships and read books in my room. In fact, the first time I ever spoke publicly was an absolute disaster. I played Paul Revere in my third grade American Revolution play and my only job was to gallop up to the microphone on my horse and say, “The British are coming!” In reality, I am almost positive I tripped on my way to the microphone, made it through the first two syllables of the sentence, and ran backstage crying. Nothing could possibly be more frightening than speaking to a room of 50 people. 

I joined the Technology Student Association in sixth grade at the encouragement of a friend and I started noticing a difference in what I thought and how I carried myself. The atmosphere of each chapter meeting and conference was absolutely electrifying and I could not get enough of it. When I was at a TSA event I felt like I could do anything and be anyone which is why when a friend jokingly asked if I would run for state office I took them seriously. I was honored to be elected the state reporter in eighth grade and it has all been uphill since then. Serving as state reporter, state president, and national vice president has shaped who I am, what I do, and what I stand for today and I can only imagine how I will grow and learn over the next year, with your help. 

We all have a story like this because I believe we are all being #MadeInTSA. I encourage you to use the hashtag throughout the year. Maybe your best friendships were #MadeInTSA or your leadership skills were #MadeInTSA or being #MadeInTSA gave you the insight into a career you will pursue. 

Please share your story through this year's hashtag, #MadeInTSA and help create a digital testament to the power of our great organization!

 

June, 2016
National TSA President
Kelsey Stoner
 

It was four years ago when I hopped on a bus with my middle school chapter from Short Pump Middle School in Virginia and rode 12 hours to Nashville, Tennessee for my first national TSA conference.

I had been amazed by the workings of my region and state conferences and had no idea what to expect at the national TSA conference. The national TSA conference was always an enigma to me mostly because I thought my state conference was more than a little special to me. Once I arrived in Nashville my whole perspective was changed.

I walked into the Gaylord Opryland, immediately looking up at the blue sky I could see through the glass ceiling. This was now the most magical place I had ever been. That week, I was stunned by the dazzling general sessions, inspiring national officer candidates, and overall desire that members had to perform and win. During the general sessions, I looked up at Praytusha Gupta, the 34th national TSA president, and I knew I wanted to be where she was one day.

It baffles me that the young and curious 13 year old, Kelsey Stoner, that walked into her first national TSA conference is now about to walk into the same place, the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, and lead the 38th annual national TSA conference. I can already feel the chills I will get just standing and looking up at that blue sky again. National TSA, I am ready to lead the 38th annual national TSA conference and I hope that you are ready for the best week of your lives.

May 2016
National TSA Reporter
Chirag Agarwal

TSA has helped me connect with many individuals and programs that have truly made a difference in my life. The coolest by far has been my introduction to the Stratus Aviation Foundation in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, a program for K-12 students interested in aviation and aerospace engineering. Currently, I am in the process of building three Van’s Kits, which produce actual aircrafts. Many students are involved in the process with every member taking on a role from riveting and deburring to installing avionics. Students are also able to learn important skills from veteran pilots and engineers and are guided through the process of applying for a pilot's license. I have also been able to learn UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and drone photography skills.

Personally, I have learned a lot of invaluable skills from veteran pilots and mentors that have inspired me and will directly assist me in my future education. I have been able to go up in small aircraft, learn to fly my own drone, and receive valuable aerospace engineering experience. I have also used my experience to found my own school aerospace club where students are able to build aircraft components as well as learn to fly DJI Phantom drones. These experiences have truly inspired my love for engineering. Just think, in the future I may be the one building the airplane that takes TSA members to the national TSA conference!

 

April 2016
National TSA Secretary
Sofia Atzrodt

I was eleven years old when I met the most important character of my childhood. It was Alligon, the Florida TSA mascot! I was so excited to meet him while attending my very first TSA state leadership conference.

Alligon is part-alligator, part-dragon and plays a central role in many Florida TSA conferences, often socializing with members during our conference kick off. In 2014 he was the focus of the mystery-themed state leadership conference when members discovered he had gone missing. Throughout the conference members solved clues about his location and were eventually able to rescue him in time for the closing ceremony. Aside from his role at our state conferences Alligon makes Florida TSA unique. Just a few state delegations have an official mascot and we are proud to be one of them. He is a figure that we know and love and he brings us together at conferences and at home.

To me Alligon is more than just a mascot. He represents my earliest TSA memories and Florida TSA’s delegation spirit. Based on these experiences I highly recommend introducing a mascot within your chapter or state. It can even be a tool for spreading awareness of TSA—after all, it is difficult for non-TSA members to pass by a tall, brightly colored Alligon and not have questions!

At the 2016 national TSA conference in Nashville, Tennessee please take a moment to ask a Florida TSA member about Alligon. I am sure they will have many fun stories to share with you. I look forward to seeing you in Nashville!

March, 2016
National TSA Sergeant-At-Arms
Trevor O'Connor
 

I am involved in my high school debate club and love every minute of it. This year, my debate partner and I won our debate district championship so we are headed to the state debate competition this month in Austin, Texas for the third time in our career. The topic we will debate is the balance of privacy rights and security with government surveillance.

As a member of the Technology Student Association and as a four-year debater, this topic speaks volumes about the increasing emphasis on the nature of technology in our modern world. After all, the TSA motto is “learning to live in a technical world.”

As a debater, I have some tips for you if you plan to compete in TSA's Debating Technological Issues competitive event.  First of all, research is critical. Be sure you are fully informed on the topic, ready to counter any arguments with facts, and have an understanding of the “ins and outs” of the topic.  Second, practice makes perfect so run through practice debates with your debate partner so you know how to work together and have exposure to the arguments. Third, remember “PART” - Project your voice, Articulate your words, Relax, and Think critically.

I am excited to debate at the state level and more importantly I’m excited to see so many students debating the role of technology in our nation and learning key skills to participate in our technical world.

February, 2016
National TSA Vice President
Jack Crawford
 

On July 1st, 2015, you chose to elect me as your 2015-2016 National TSA Vice President. A little over six months later I am still humbled that you placed a year of leadership and service in my hands based on what I told you I would accomplish to the best of my ability.

One of the goals of my campaign was to maintain a connection with members long after the national TSA conference ended by ensuring that the national officer team remained approachable and present on social media. Thanks to the inspiring individuals with whom I serve on the national officer team, I think it is safe to check that box.

A second goal of mine was to increase regional interaction on the national level. I know that many members favored this idea when I ran for national office. I actually came up with the idea for this goal a year ago when I was serving as state president and participating in one of the national officer and state president regional Google hangouts. My idea was to ask states that were undertaking a fundraiser for the TSA/ACS (American Cancer Society) Spirit of Service Awards program at their state conferences to combine their fundraising totals with those from other states in their region and report a grand fundraising total.

Last year after Region 2 states held their own unique fundraisers we combined state totals for a grand fundraising total of $3,170.66! It was an easy and awesome way to work together. As a result of this region project I made lifelong friends. By the way, my state chose to “slime” the state officer that raised the most money—who, in case you can't tell in the picture, was me!

Last year's success in Region 2 got me thinking about the possibility of spreading this kind of regional interaction and enthusiasm across the country and this is one reason I submitted a national officer candidate application. I wrote a speech and designed a campaign about the positive influence this kind of collaboration could have on our awesome organization. I thought then and still believe now that it is another step towards building our legacy.

As our state conferences approach I encourage everyone to fundraise for the ACS/TSA Spirit of service awards program and use this opportunity to meet more members in your region.

We are all learning to live in a technical world, but who says we have to do it alone?

 

January, 2016
Chirag Agarwal
National TSA Reporter

As a senior I can attest to the amount of labor that goes into the college application process. As we anxiously await college decisions and make plans for the future it is of monumental importance to not fall into the trap of indifference known as senioritis.

Right now you are reading this and maybe thinking to yourself that perhaps senior year doesn’t matter once you have submitted your applications or even after you have received notice of college acceptance. The truth is that it does matter. While it is perfectly acceptable for us to relax a little after completing college applications or solidifying our future plans, we need to pay attention to senior year grades and final exams. Most acceptance offers are contingent on a satisfactory level of completion of our senior year. We have made it this far, why quit now?

Additionally, most colleges accept AP credit which can lead to tuition reduction, fewer lecture classes, and early graduation. So, it is to our advantage to place well on these exams this coming May, a feat that is nearly impossible if we choose to simply ignore the rest of senior year. A drop in grades in senior year could result in credit denial or perhaps not being able to graduate. Both situations can be easily avoided by continuing to devote time to our studies. Finally, falling into a bad work ethic will negatively impact our performance in college so it is best to avoid this issue completely and simply do our work.

Now that we have established the detriments of succumbing to senioritis, let's talk about how we can work to eliminate this prevalent issue.

1. The easiest course of action is to just pretend that nothing has changed because it really hasn't changed. We still need to effectively navigate these next few months of high school.

2. Ask your teachers or counselors for assistance; they are glad to help their students succeed.

3. Set a plan for every day. Plot your homework out and commit to it; don't let it get past you and pile up.

4. Use your weekends wisely. Set aside time to complete any pending school work.

5. Basically, don't procrastinate!!

Hopefully, these tips will help us in our endeavors. Let’s continue our solid work ethic as TSA students and everything will work out in our favor. Together, we will successfully get through our senior year!

December, 2015
National TSA Treasurer
Cesia Flores

The holiday season will always have a special place in my heart. The reason this time of year is so special to me lies in the distinct traditions of my hometown in the Texan Rio Grande Valley. The Rio Grande Valley serves as the frontier between the state of Texas in the United States and the state of Tamaulipas in Mexico. Therefore, the Valley is an area rich with American and Hispanic culture which, when combined, create an atmosphere in which holidays celebrate the unison of two countries and a vast amount of cultural diversity.

Every December, the Valley, just like the rest of the United States, becomes filled with the scent of freshly-cut pine trees, the glow of rich holiday colors and lights, and the aroma of cookies fresh out of the oven. Yet, amidst these preparations, our treasure of culture is exemplified in distinct ways. At my house, for instance, the carols played for our guests are sung in Spanish rather than in English, traditional Mexican dishes such as pozole and tamales are served along with turkey for dinner, and presents are opened at midnight on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day.

Although winter celebrations may vary across regions of the United States, the purposes behind these celebrations are similar in that they strive to recognize the power of human love and unity. In this season of celebration, I encourage you to embrace what makes winter special to you. Happy holidays!

 

 

 

 

November, 2015
National TSA Secretary
Sofia Atzrodt

Like many other TSA members, I joined TSA for the competition and fell in love because of my chapter. I believe TSA is unique to any sports team or club because of the family we as members become. We eat together at conferences, support each other in our events, and even share rooms like siblings. All of these behaviors are qualities of the best kind of family I know. I like to think of my TSA chapter as my chamily, because they are both my chapter and my family. Throughout these seven years of TSA membership, I’ve been lucky enough to experience many different chamilies, all of which have shaped who I am today through their support and kindness. Now, in the month of giving thanks, it is time to show your appreciation for your own chamily. Here are some of my suggestions to show members of your chamily that you appreciate them:

  1. Organize a weekend get-together or movie night to enhance chapter bonding.
  2. Make a thank you card for your TSA advisor. Ask all of members to sign the card.
  3. Share favorite TSA memories you are thankful for with other members of the chamily.
  4. Hold a Thanksgiving party and pair members up in a secret gift exchange. They should provide a gift valued at $5 or less, as well as a note detailing why they are thankful for that particular member.

As the holiday season comes into full swing, remember to give thanks for your chamily’s support. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

October, 2015
National TSA Vice President
Jack Crawford

Many TSA members are inspired to follow a STEM career path of engineering, innovation, and design as a result of participating in TSA’s diverse STEM based competitions and programs. For me, it’s TSA’s communication competitions that have inspired my career path – a path that follows education, business, law, and politics. Our motto, “Learning to Live in a Technical World”, says nothing about a prerequisite in software development or mechanical engineering before joining TSA and this is what I believe to be one of the best qualities of 

TSA - its all-encompassing nature. TSA prepares us, the members, for an increasingly technology-oriented society in any and all of our fields of interest. My opinion may be alittle biased, but I believe this versatility is TSA’s greatest strength as an organization because it helps us define ourselves. Events such as Debating Technology and Fashion Design prepare members for life outside of the organization, while still staying true to the core of TSA. While writing this blog I thought about the famous American poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. If I could amend Robert Frost’s poem I would say that in TSA, while two paths do indeed diverge (STEM careers and other careers) you can travel both. I sure am glad they don’t stray very far apart, because that truly does make all the difference.

September, 2015
National TSA Treasurer
Cesia Flores

"Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer... because it teaches you how to think." - Steve Jobs
When I was little, my school counselor told me that I should try every activity and club until I found what I was truly passionate about. Surely enough, I took his advice at heart. Throughout elementary and middle school, I participated in almost everything possible, from being a bench-warmer in basketball to playing distinct roles in theater and oboe in my school's band. However, when I came into high school and attended my first technology class, I was blown away by the power that 0's and 1's could have. It was then that I realized I had finally found my niche.

Today, I am certain that whatever road I take in life, computing will always be important to me. Computer science, otherwise known as "CS", plays crucial roles in today's society by shaping the way we communicate, research, travel, work, and play. Numerous individuals
and companies around the world have recognized the potential computer science holds and have established organizations to help young students interested in STEM. The opportunities that these organizations offer come in the form of camps, scholarships, courses, and conferences.

Below is a potential list of programs related to CS. -Dell Scholars Program: http://www.dellscholars.org/ -iD Tech Camps and Programs: https://www.idtech.com/ -Google for Education Programs: https://www.google.com/edu/resources/programs/ -Harvard CS50 Course: https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-computer-science-harvardx-cs50x?... -National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations Award: https://www.aspirations.org/aspirations-computing -MIT Summer Programs: http://mitadmissions.org/apply/prepare/summer

August, 2015
National TSA President
Kelsey Stoner

When I was five years old, I got lost on a school bus. The bus kept turning and stopping and turning and stopping and it was never my stop. It is no surprise that I then gave up and fell asleep, since the life of a kindergartener was just SO exhausting. Going into my senior year in high school, there are going to be many turns but mostly, it’s going to be the ride of my life. Even though TSA members are very likely to graduate and pursue further education, senior year is a scary and confusing time. No matter the nerves and pressure, all seniors need to remember a few things:

1. Wherever you end up, you will find ways to be happy and successful so worry a little less!

2. Do everything you can to check every item off of your bucket list. Whether it is going to the beach with your friends for a day or running a 10K, DO IT. You have a year!

3. Enjoy every second you have left as a member of TSA. There is always the opportunity to be an alumni but nothing will be quite like being a student in this amazing organization. Make the most out of this last year.

I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to spend my last year serving as your national TSA president. Even though I am nervous for my future like everyone else, I am more than ready to have a fantastic year. I won't worry about all the turns I will take inthis final year trip and I will take advantage of every stop along the way!

July, 2015
National TSA Treasurer
Jay Son

Cleaning out my binder full of old Chapter Team scripts and tests last month might have been one of the toughest things I’ve had to do. With all of the effort I’d spent on the event, I almost felt like I was tossing away all of the time associated with it. However, it’s important to realize that each coming school year is a progression and holding too tightly onto old projects just may be holding you back. Instead, focus on enhancing the skills while you made these projects. You may find that you can work much more effectively by relying on your skills rather than templates from years past.

With the national conference now over we are granted a unique opportunity to find new beginnings in the midst of conclusions. As you wind down after a rigorous year of competition you might find it interesting to explore different branches of your event that you just didn’t have time for before. During this time of year you have the time to experiment without repercussion and wipe the slate clean if your experiments don’t lead anywhere. Try dipping a toe outside of your comfort zone!

Over the course of my high school career I’ve seen friends drop activities they thought they were in love with while later adopting a new activity where they truly found their passion. Look back on your past year and ask yourself what you truly enjoyed. In the multitude of events TSA offers, find a niche in which you thrive. Each new year is an opportunity for you to bring your best to competition, so make every moment count!

June, 2015
National TSA President
Steven Stokes
Carl Junction High School, Missouri

At the 1984 National AIASA Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee student delegates elected Robert Stokes of Wyandotte, Oklahoma as the 7th national AIASA president. Thirty years later student delegates in Washington, D.C. elected me as the 37th national TSA president making Dad and me the first parent-child pair to be national presidents of TSA.

TSA has undergone many changes since Dad was national president. Most notably at the 1988 National Conference in Downington, PA delegates voted to change the name of the American Industrial Arts Student Association to the Technology Student Association to match the drift from industrial arts to technology education occurring nationwide. With the name change, so did our competitive events change. For example animatronics, biotechnology design, software development, structural design and engineering, video game design and web master are now center stage as well as events that continue to thrive such as Chapter Team and Industrial Bowl which is now called Technology Bowl.

In many ways, the very nature of being a national officer has changed since Dad was an officer. Back in the day, the national officers’ primary method of communication was letter writing. Each national officer would send monthly activity reports to the national president and national advisor. With today’s national officer team, officer communication is near daily. We are able to communicate over text, email, Facebook, and Google Hangouts. Not only does this technology allow for better internal communication, but communication with the membership as well. In 1985, the only communication with the general membership was through the School Scene. In today’s TSA, members interact with the officers via the 

School Scene, national officer blog, social media, email, and our most recent communications endeavor - a virtual session. In my opinion, the most significant and important change has been the change in membership.

In the 1984-1985 school year, TSA had 45,000 members. In the 2014-2015 school year TSA has over 233,500 members. TSA has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, growing by 80,000 members in the past four years. This is because TSA provides incredible opportunities for middle and high school students interested in studying science, technology, engineering and math. I am confident that TSA will continue to grow and I look forward to the next 30 years.

May, 2015

National TSA Reporter
Joshua Mathew
Terry Sanford High School
Fayetteville, NC

The month of May is now upon us, which means that there are only two months left until the national TSA conference! Held at the stunningly scenic Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center from June 28th to July 2nd, this conference is sure to be the highlight of your year.

There are a few things that members can do to prepare for this year’s national conference:

 

  1. Prepare well for competitive events. It is incredibly important to get an early start on your competitive events for the national conference. Remember to check the Updates and Clarification page for competitive events on the national TSA website.
  2. Watch the National TSA Conference Promotional Video: https://vimeo.com/122450977
  3. Look through the conference program and schedule-at-a-glance to see all of the special events available to TSA members. This will help you to pick out programs that interest you to avoid missing out on any of the action. One of my favorite events is the TSA Meet and Greet, where you can interact with national officer candidates and Verizon Innovative App Challenge winners, as well as representatives from various companies and organizations.
  4. Sign up to receive important conference updates through email: http://tsaweb.formstack.com/forms/constant_contact_signup_form__copy_copy
  5. Learn more about the national officer election process proposal. It is essential that members make an informed decision regarding this proposal.
  6. Lastly, be excited! There is so much to look forward to at the 2015 national TSA conference. Prepare to meet members from across the nation and globe and walk away with plenty of long-lasting memories.

Remember to register for the national conference by June 1st. I hope see you all in Dallas!

April, 2015
National TSA Vice President
Leigh Anne Hamlin
Fitzgerald High School
Fitzgerald, GA

 

Hello TSA! Speaking on behalf of the entire national officer team it has been an honor to serve you this year. At the national level we have been working on some pretty big things!

As many of you know one of our biggest projects this year has been preparing and hosting the first ever virtual session for TSA. The opportunity to directly interact with you and answer your questions was a wonderful experience. Thank you to all who took part in this first ever session! We definitely consider it a success.

Another big project our team has been working on this year is a proposal for a new national officer election process. Throughout the year we have been in close contact with your state presidents through surveys and Google hangouts. A new election process has been thoroughly discussed and feedback gathered. If you have any questions about the election proposal please don’t hesitate to ask your state president or email any of the national officers. Our email addresses can be found on the national TSA website.

Also this year the national officer team created two Membership Growth Awards - one for the greatest middle school growth and one for the greatest high school growth. These awards measure membership from one year to the next and aim to highlight the hard work put into recruiting members. The first ever Membership Growth Awards will be awarded this summer in Dallas. These are a few of the many initiatives your national officer teamhas been working on during this school year. We aim to make your time as a member of the Technology Student Association as enjoyable and beneficial as possible. If you have any questions or comments about our work this year please email any of us.

I look forward to seeing you in a few short months at the national TSA conference, June 28-July 2 in Dallas, Texas!

 

March, 2015
National TSA Sergeant-At-Arms
A.C. Williams
Savannah Arts Academy
Savannah, GA

March madness is upon us and so are TSA state conferences!

The month of March is always a very busy one for TSA student members. Schools are ramping up end of the year exam preparation and TSA members are involved in many events. It's important to keep your eye on the ball, race down the court and make your basket.

The time for procrastination has come to an end. Start everything as early as possible. It is time for a full court press in order to finish strong. Don’t let small things turn into big obstacles and keep you from completing what is most important. 

Once everything is prepared for state conferences and other activities, it’s time to set your sights on the national TSA conference. Take the extra time to practice and hone your projects so during the competition, your performance will be “nothing but net”. To those of you reading this after your state conference I congratulate you on your efforts and hope you will join us for the national TSA conference in Dallas, Texas June 28 – July 2. 

This is the month the national officer team kicks into high gear as well. Beyond working on the details for the national TSA conference, we will host our long anticipated virtual session live stream for all members on Monday, March 9th at 7pm ET. If you are reading this after the event and missed it, check out TSA social media for information on how to watch the recorded stream. 

Please post on social media the wonderful things your chapter is involved in this month. Show others that you have a winning team! 

 

February, 2015

National TSA Reporter
Josh Mathew
Terry Sanford High School
Fayetteville, NC

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, advocacy, and patient support. 

For many years, TSA has encouraged its members to support the ACS in a variety of ways and members have answered the call.TSA's Spirit of Service Awards program recognizes TSA chapters with outstanding fundraising accomplishments at the national TSA conference each year. 

Over 4 million people in over 20 countries around the world raise much-needed funds and raise awareness through the Relay For Life movement each year.Many TSA chapters participate in the Relay for Life fundraiser event in the spring as well as conduct individual fundraising efforts in their schools and communities. 

It's important to note that World Cancer Day will take place this year on Wednesday, February 4th. This day is meant to send a message to the world that ending cancer should be a global health priority. 

TSA members can make a difference on World Cancer Day by making an effort on February 4th to raise awareness of cancer’s global impact in their own schools and communities. 

The 2015 World Cancer Day tagline: “Cancer. It is not beyond us.” To learn more about how you can be a part of World Cancer Day, visit http://www.worldcancerday.org/

Giving back to such a worthy cause is one of the most rewarding experiences.

The deadline for ACS fundraising to be considered for the Spirit of Service Awards is June 1, 2015. More information about sending donations and submitting information about your chapter’s fundraising efforts for recognition at the national TSA conference can be found by visiting http://www.tsaweb.org/National-Service-Project. In the 2013-2014 school year, TSA chapters across the country raised $50,523 altogether. I am confident that TSA’s membership will raise the bar by donating to the American Cancer Society an even greater sum this year.

I hope that all of you will take advantage of every opportunity available to make a difference in your community in honor of the millions of cancer patients and survivors worldwide.

 

January 2015
National TSA Treasurer
Jay Son Hardin Valley Academy
Knoxville, TN

Historically, a country’s geographical features and a favorable import-to-export ratio has been a clear indicator of its global competitiveness. Now, the importance of physical goods has yielded to a newly founded focus on intellectual property because of the influx of technological innovations.

Whether it be a discovery of solutions to long-held issues such as third-world hunger or disappearing habitats, or innovative ways to connect people through the development of new “smart” devices, a united spirit of problem solving has become the new indication of competitiveness in the global market.

With this in mind, each year TSA works with experienced engineering professors and professionals to design the TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) competition to mimic real life engineering problems that will challenge middle and high school students to use their STEM knowledge to collaboratively develop solutions and increase confidence in using their STEM skills. The theme of the 2015 TEAMS competition, “The Power of Engineering,” is based around the close relationship between energy and engineering and explores topics such as biofuel, electricity, nuclear, and solar energy. The concepts within the competition are all based on the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges. TEAMS competitions will be held nationwide from February 9 - March 21, 2015. Competitions held during that window determine local, division and state winners. The national TEAMS competition will be held at the national TSA conference, June 28 - July 2, 2015 at the Gaylord Texan Resort, just outside of Dallas, Texas. Exposure to engineering problems starting in middle school can help us experience the applications of knowledge we learn in the classroom everyday. Sometimes it can be easy to lose a sense of purpose while doing school problem sets. TEAMS tests draw on our applied problem solving skills rather than conceptual knowledge which allows a fresh change of pace that can help us stay on track for our future careers. I encourage you to take part in the TEAMS competition in your state this February and March! To learn more about the teams competition visit http://teams.tsaweb.org

December, 2014
National TSA Sergeant-At-Arms
A.C. Williams
Savannah Arts Academy
Savannah, GA

Happy Holidays,TSA! With the calendar year coming to an end, it is a good time to make sure you are making a list and checking it twice to prepare for 2015 TSA conferences! The night before a TSA state conference should be full of sugar plums dancing in your head, not losing sleep and scrambling to get projects done.

It is hard sticking to a competitive event preparation schedule. TSA members who take home trophies have wrapped up deadlines to finish everything in advance.

The first step in event preparation is deciding which chapter member gets to compete in which event. It is important to find your members' strengths before finalizing competition choices. Every member has something great to give its chapter. 

Starting competition preparation early ensures that the only thing you need to do before your state conference is to add a bow to your project! As we all know, there is nothing worse than shopping for presents on the eve of a holiday. It’s the same as starting to work on events on the eve of a conference. Judges can see the effort put into an event and value a competitor's attention to detail. As a reminder, it’s good to reward members who stay up to date with the preparation schedule.

There is no time for a long winter nap! So, speak not a word and get straight to your work and begin preparing for regional, state and national conferences! With the quality of work I’ve seen TSA members produce time and time again, I can’t wait to see who will be on stage this coming summer at the 2015 national TSA conference awards ceremony in Dallas, Texas!

Good luck and best wishes for the happiest of holidays! 

November, 2014

National TSA Vice President
Leigh Anne Hamlin
Fitzgerald High School
Fitzgerald, GA

When asked, most high school students will claim that their middle school years went by so quickly it was as if they never happened.

Those inevitable middle school years of being a sixth, seventh or eighth  grader were filled with awkward yearbook pictures, embarrassing Facebook posts, and weird experimental hair phases. However, we often forget just how imperative those years were in our lives. It is the time when we truly begin delving into who we are going to become. This is why I am sincerely thankful I joined TSA in the sixth grade - it has tremendously helped make me into the person I am today.

The most obvious “perk” of joining TSA at this young age is members will have a longer period of time to take advantage of all of the incredible opportunities this association offers. This means that you not only develop a greater network of friends and advisors but the network grows stronger every year.

The prolonged exposure to TSA competitions leads to an increase in competitive performance.

One of the best “perks” of middle school membership for the entire association as a whole is that the early spark of passion for TSA will entice members to stay in TSA throughout high school, helping our membership grow and thrive.

If you are a high school TSA member I encourage you to reach out to middle schools in your area and share the value of TSA with the principal, guidance counselors,  teachers and students. You can find many resources on the TSA website to help you. If you are already a middle school member, thank you. Please know that you are a vital part of TSA and we are better because of you!

October, 2014

National TSA Secretary
Laura Wilson 
Lowndes High School, Georgia

Many factors contribute to the making of a strong local chapter of TSA. Among these are a motivated membership, an interested teacher/advisor, a cooperative team of chapter officers, and the endorsement of the school administration. The most important factors, however, are the teamwork and interest of the members and their determination to make their chapter outstanding.

The following steps are guidelines for technology teachers and others interested in starting a TSA chapter.
1. Become familiar with TSA’s goals and purposes, organization materials, publications and brochures, all of which are available from the Technology Student Association (TSA) at www.tsaweb.org
2. Contact your TSA state advisor, state or national elected officers, and the national TSA office for information and assistance. (A list of TSA state advisors can be found at www.tsaweb.org.)
3. Visit local TSA chapters for ideas, suggestions and help in getting your chapter started.
4. Interest school administrators in the value of organizing a TSA chapter and determine school procedures and policies for establishing a curriculum?related student organization.
5. Affiliate online at www.tsaweb.org (state and national dues are calculated automatically) and pay using a purchase order number or credit card.
6. Announce to all eligible students (those taking or who have taken a technology class) that a general meeting will be held for the purpose of forming a TSA chapter. At that meeting, create a small committee of students willing to work on initial organization planning (i.e., chapter constitution and bylaws).
7. Elect chapter officers to conduct the business of the chapter and to help with a membership drive.
8. Train officers in their responsibilities.
9. Choose several (3-5) competitive events for the chapter to work on during the year. The advisor may want to have members vote for the events they are interested in, or the advisor may choose based on the curriculum.
10. Decide on a regular meeting schedule and plan a calendar of activities for the semester and year. Include time to work on events, social activities, a service project and fund raising.
11. Make plans to attend local technology competitions, the state TSA conference and the national TSA conference.

September, 2014
National TSA President
Steven Stokes
Carl Junction High School, Missouri

Hello and welcome to another year of TSA! TSA officers and leaders at all levels have started their activities for the year. Our chapter officers are in the midst of their recruitment drives; state officers have begun planning for their respective fall leadership and state conferences; and our veteran members are preparing for another year of competition.

 

Meanwhile, your national TSA officers have been preparing for another fantastic year of TSA. The 2014-2015 National Officer Team, elected at the 36th annual national TSA conference in Washington, D.C. consists of the following individuals:

 

President: Steven Stokes, Carl Junction High School, Missouri

Vice President: Leigh Anne Hamlin, Fitzgerald High School, Georgia

Secretary: Laura Wilson, Lowndes High School, Georgia

Treasurer: Jay Son, Hardin Valley Academy, Tennessee

Reporter: Joshua Mathew, Terry Sanford High School, North Carolina

Sergeant-at-Arms: A.C. Williams, Savannah Arts Academy, Georgia

 

At the end of July your national officers met in Reston, Virginia, to set a program of work for the year. I think we have a great year ahead and your officer team is extremely excited to be serving you.

 

Be sure to check out the national officer blog posted each month on the TSA website for valuable updates. Thank you for being a TSA member and best wishes for success in the year ahead!