Matt Oberg puts his community FIRST

Daniel Noble, Staff Writer

Every year, Liberty’s robotics team nominates two juniors or sophomores for Dean’s List. Dean’s List is an award given out by FIRST for individual students’ contributions to their communities and teams.
“They were nominated by their teams for their direct contribution and impact on others, exemplifying leadership and commitment on the team and in their communities,” head of FIRST Washington Kevin Ross said.
“For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” (FIRST) is the league in which the robotics team competes.
This years’ nominees were juniors Jay Beeman and Matt Oberg. They interviewed with judges on March 30 during the Auburn District Event, then the Finalists were announced—Matt Oberg among them. He proceeded to the District Championships, at which he interviewed for a chance to compete at the World’s Competition in Houston, and emerged victorious once again, sealing his chance to attend the Houston Championship from April 16-20 with the top 150 out of over 90,000 students.
But what exactly qualified him to progress this far?
“Oberg participates in our collaboration with the Renton Summer Lunch Program, appearing at 15 outreach events and interacting with over 500 low-income grade-school kid,” senior Helen Le said.
His participation extended to other community outreach events such as Renton River Days, Newcastle Days, and elementary and middle school science fairs. He also led senior Andrew Chappelle and junior Yegor Kuznetsov to earn first place at Pacific Lutheran’s high school programming contest.
On the team, his two-year stint as head of software has given him plenty of opportunities to teach code to robotics students, both on Liberty’s team and others. At the Auburn Mountainview District Event this March, a competing team’s robot would not have run without him.
This impressive contribution to his team and community presented him with the opportunity of a lifetime. “I got to attend the Dean’s List Luncheon, where the Deans of Admission for MIT, Yale, and WPI spoke, as well as Dean Kamen, the President of FIRST,” Oberg said.
The World Championship isn’t just for impact on the community—the best robots in the world compete. “I got to watch some of the best robots go head-to-head, which was an awesome experience. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and one I’m glad I was able to experience.”