Mark Leon

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Mark Leon
Occupation Electrical Engineer, Civil Servant
Known for MCing at many FIRST robotics competitions

Mark Leon 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. 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[3] He received his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering.

Communications Work[edit]

In the 1980s Mark 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 feat was thought to be impossible at that time.[4]

Affiliation with FIRST Robotics[edit]

For many years Mark Leon has worked as a Master of Ceremonies in many FIRST robotics competition events both on and off season. He is particularly well known for wearing a bright blue NASA coat and dying his hair the same color for these events.[5][6] 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.[7]

Robotics Alliance Project[edit]

Beginning in 1998 Mark moved to the Robotics Alliance Project at NASA Ames.[8] 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.[9] He also ran the Ames Robotics Academy every summer.[10]