“What makes me so passionate about STEM is the positive impact it has on everything."
Bryce Raymond has come full circle with the Technology Student Association (TSA). What began with a knee high view of the organization—later led Bryce to join TSA, then to take on an active role as a TSA alumnus and encourage others to do the same.
As early as age five, Bryce—and his sister Megan, then seven—tagged along with their parents to TSA chapter meetings at a Colorado middle school. “I grew up with TSA,” Bryce recalls. “I was almost a mascot to the chapter.”
His father, Tony Raymond, was a librarian who became a teacher then a TSA chapter advisor; he is now the Colorado TSA state advisor. Bryce’s mother, Myka Raymond, Ph.D., is a teacher who became a TSA chapter co-advisor and is now the advisor to the Colorado TSA state officers.
Bryce belonged to TSA in middle school and high school. His favorite competition—Technology Problem Solving—had quite an impact on him. “Being a member of TSA taught me so many valuable skills that helped me become a successful college student. Through technical skills—such as problem solving, 3D design, and fabrication practices—to the soft skills of teamwork and communication, TSA helped me to realize that a common goal can be reached working one-on-one, or through teamwork. TSA also gave me the strong friend group that I am still a part of today.”
Bryce points out that TSA offers more than competitions. “While it is fun to get those trophies, know that TSA is a community of people just like you. You may end up at college with them, or even work with them someday.”
Another favorite TSA activity at the high school-level for Bryce involved American Cancer Society fundraisers such as Relay for Life. His devotion to volunteering also led him to serve as a judge at state conferences, and co-launch the CO TSA Alumni Association; Bryce is a member of the executive board and serves as vice president.
He and the association’s president, Paul Fritter, led a presentation to TSA state advisors at the 2018 National TSA Conference on ways to recruit, retain, and encourage alumni to give back to the TSA community. Bryce humbly credits his father with coming up with the idea. “A TSA alumni presence is crucial, and we wanted to help state advisors spread the word,” explains Bryce.
The CO TSA Alumni Association certainly practices what it preaches; Bryce reports it has expanded to more than 100 members who:
- host alumni networking events;
- sponsor competitions, leadership events, and scholarships;
- serve as judges, speakers, and workshop presenters at conferences;
- prepare TSA members to run for chapter, state, and national offices;
- encourage TSA members who are high school seniors to continue their involvement with TSA as alumni;
- mentor TSA members through job shadowing and internship opportunities;
- and compete against TSA chapters in charity fundraisers such as Pop Tab Collection for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), and Fleece for Fighters blanket-making and distribution to RMHC and children’s hospitals.
Since their enthusiastically-received presentation in Atlanta, Bryce and Paul have been inundated with positive feedback from state advisors including those in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Kansas, and Washington state. In fact, the Kansas and Washington state advisors put two of their most active alumni in touch with Bryce. The alumni turned out to be students at Colorado School of Mines (CSM), the public research university where Bryce earned a B.S. in engineering physics. “What a coincidence,” says Bryce. “We’re meeting to get things off the ground back in their home states.”
Even before he earns a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at CSM by May 2019, Bryce is thrilled to begin his job as a systems engineer at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, CO. “The excitement of getting out of school, entering the workforce, and applying everything I’ve learned is eye opening,” says Bryce. “What makes me so passionate about STEM is the positive impact it has on everything. I love the idea of being able to design and build something that may be tiny, but can have a huge impact on the world. I hope that one day I get to help make lives easier. I can't wait to say, ‘Hey I made that. And now it's in space!’”