FIRST Tech Challenge UK - Our People page - Header image
FIRST Tech Challenge UK - Our People page - Header image

Our people

We’re More Than Robots – we’re a global movement of educators, industry pioneers and influencers

There’s power in community

FIRST UK is only as impactful as the smart creatives driving it. Our small but mighty HQ team is supported by a network of champion orgs, trustees and advisors on a mission to make STEM more inclusive and less intimidating.

“We need to empower young people today to take on the challenges of tomorrow – to prepare them for jobs which haven’t been invented yet.”

Vikrant Bhargava, Founding Chair of Trustees

Mi

The Orchestrator

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Having secured a degree in Events Management from the University of Surrey, Mi joined the charity in summer 2023 on an events internship. She demonstrated quickly her commitment to ensuring we're 'More Than Events' and was soon promoted to Events & Operations Officer - tasked with making internal processes more efficient and external events scalable. Outside of work, she is an energetic outside hitter on the volleyball court and a 'scientist' experimenting in her kitchen.

Tara

The Dreamweaver

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As Fundraising and Partnerships Lead Tara is responsible for income generation at FIRST UK. Tara makes strategy a reality by identifying partners with shared goals, teasing out stats and stories from staff, placing young people’s STEM journeys at the heart of funding applications and making people and organisations feel excited about partnering with us. Tara has 17 years’ experience in fundraising, and has worked for youth development charities such as Whizz-Kidz, and Street League and Sweaty Betty Foundation. Having also worked on ‘the other side’ in grantmaking and corporate foundations, Tara knows what funders need to feel engaged and good about giving. Outside of work Tara loves exploring the world with her young daughter, husband, dog (and sometimes the cat!) in tow, watching Nicolas Cage films (don’t judge), as well as sitting on the Boards of Birthrights and Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust.

Paige

The Chatter

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Chatty was a word that always came up on Paige's school reports, but now she uses that skill to her advantage in her role as Outreach and Partnerships Manager. Paige has 6 years experience in STEM outreach education where her most recent role focused on supporting schools and industry partners to make the most of their relationships. Paige is eager to extend the reach of the FIRST Tech Challenge by making sure that everyone hears our story. At our events, you'll find Paige behind the mic bringing matches alive, and in her free time there's usually 2 places you'll find her: in her home office crafting or in the kitchen cooking up a family feast!

Kayla

The Facilitator

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Kayla thrives on helping others achieve greatness! She spends much of her time coordinating the charity's interactions with schools, teachers and teams - the people we're here to serve. From engaging and on-boarding new organisations to supporting existing - Kayla ensures their journey to impact is a positive one.

Toni

The Connector

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If we had to describe Toni in one word, it would be "connector". Her mission? To establish Hubs throughout the UK for the FIRST Tech Challenge programme. By engaging with key players in each region, she's helping us extend our reach and provide essential STEM opportunities to young people who need it most. Toni has 15 years of experience in STEM education, five of which saw her responsible for the delivery of the FIRST Lego League programme in Trinidad and Tobago. She's passionate about making sure every young person has the opportunity to engage with STEM, regardless of their background or circumstances, and is excited to see the FIRST Tech Challenge programme grow in the UK. When she's not busy connecting the dots, Toni enjoys scenic walks and hikes with her family, exploring the stunning Scottish landscapes (though she not so secretly despises the exercise). A self-proclaimed Harry Potter fanatic and musical aficionado, Toni has made it her mission to rally the team for a group outing to see Hamilton on West End.

Shazia

The Art-iculator

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Shazia's dynamic professional journey seamlessly blends a degree in Politics and Arabic from the University of Manchester with a passion for impactful communication - making her the ideal cnadidate to smash all things comms & content at FIRST UK. In her role, Shazia is the driving force behind the organisation's communication strategy, leveraging her creative talent to craft compelling narratives and strategic campaigns that resonate with diverse audiences. Beyond her proficiency in communications, Shazia is also an avid painter, reader, calligrapher, and globe-trotter, embodying a versatile nature and a commitment to fostering positive change in both her professional and personal spheres.

Ed

The Disruptor

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Ed’s ideas (not always good ones), agility and boundless energy drive the charity forward at pace. Frustrated by standing still he is constantly asking ‘will it make the boat go faster’ – no one really understands why (rumour suggests it’s a book he got one Christmas and hasn’t actually read but cites when out of ideas). Ed describes the mission as ‘making the charity go out of business’ – a world where every young person is equipped with the technical knowledge and life skills to own their futures. In the meantime, he’s focused on defining the pathway to impact and securing sustainable investment and critical friendships to get there fast. Previously Ed led innovation at Cancer Research UK devising award-winning fundraising products, disrupting funding models and driving strategic growth. He also spent several years globe-trotting whilst helping build an adventure tour operator into a sector-leading SME. His passions include his partner Katherine, their two young boys Zeb and Oz, travel, and anything to do with the water, outdoors or food.

Patrice

The Storyteller

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Patrice owns all things impact, brand, comms and marketing in her role as the Head of Impact & Engagement here at FIRST UK. Operating across all channels and events, she builds a narrative that resonates with our audiences, making sure that everyone feels part of an epic experience. A Graphic and Media Designer from the University of the Arts London, Patrice honed her craft delivering consumer marketing campaigns and games with digital and creative agencies. While leading comms programmes at Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s Open Data Institute, she developed influencer strategies for public sector agencies. When she’s not working, you can find her binge-watching documentaries, hiking, dad dancing, rallying causes for diversity and inclusion, or presenting to young people and grown ups about opportunities in STEM.

“As a Senior Leader, it’s important to engage with other schools locally. By working together and networking our D&T and computing departments, we’re strengthening provision across all our schools, helping students get more out of their experience and engaging students in STEM beyond our own school.

“Being a Champion Organisation offers opportunities to link to industry, which helps support the school towards reaching Gatsby benchmarks. The role helps us show our wider community that we’re more than just about exams and in our own context, we’re getting much higher engagement of girls picking tech and computing beyond Key Stage 3.”

Toby Osborne, Assistant Headteacher and Curriculum Lead, Bournemouth School for Girls

Toby

SouthWest Champion

Trustees & Advisors

Propelling us forward, enacting our strategy and maximsing impact – our Board help us achieve more, better and sooner.

Toby

The Educator

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Suzy

The Alchemist

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Muktar

The Product Guy

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Vikrant

The Founder

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