Mark Leon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mark Leon
OccupationElectrical Engineer, Civil Servant
Known forMCing at many FIRST robotics competitions

Mark Leon (1962 - 2018) was a former civil servant with NASA Ames Research Center. His primary work was in education and communication systems.

Early life[edit]

Mark Leon grew up in a rather rough East San Jose neighborhood, and graduated from James Lick High School in 1980. He originally began taking a slightly more academic route to life when he began hiding in the library from other high school students who were attempting to beat him up.[1]

He also attended San Jose State University[2] and won a silver medal in the 1985 Collegiate National Judo Championships.[1] He received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.

Communications work[edit]

In the 1980s Leon was instrumental in establishing trans-Atlantic communication between American, French and English space agencies. In the 1990s he completed the first audio/video link to Antarctica. This was thought to be impossible at the time.[3]

Affiliation with FIRST Robotics[edit]

For many years Mark Leon worked as a Master of Ceremonies in many FIRST robotics competition events both on and off season. He was particularly well known for wearing a bright blue NASA coat and dying his hair the same color for these events.[4][1] He was widely cited as an inspiration to many high school students to build robots and impacted many career choices. He is also credited with the existence of a large number of FRC teams.[5]

Robotics Alliance Project[edit]

Beginning in 1998 Mark moved to the Robotics Alliance Project at NASA Ames.[1] This department works primarily in educational and outreach projects and was estimated in 2006 to have reached more than 100,000 middle and high school students.[3] He also ran the Ames Robotics Academy every summer.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "Mark Leon, Helping Kids Build a Better Robot". Archived from the original on 2009-09-30.
  2. ^ Mark León - NASA Learning Technologies
  3. ^ a b "Spaceward Bound, Mark Leon". Archived from the original on 2016-05-20.
  4. ^ Mark Leon
  5. ^ "Mark Leon has left the planet". Chief Delphi. 31 December 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  6. ^ NASA Ames Robotics Academy