Meet the Mentors

Randy Baden

Randy Baden started his LASA mentoring and volunteering in 1998 as a band dad cooking and hauling equipment for the marching band. His son Joel joined team 418 in the 2000-2001 season. Randy enjoys helping and mentoring the energetic students as much as his earlier youth sports team coaching. His career in welding and fabrication brings an added dimension to team robot building. He is in his 24th year with team 418 Purple Haze.
Randy Baden

Vignesh Balasubramaniam

Vignesh got his start in FIRST as a high school student in North Carolina starting in 2012, on team 4290, and immediately fell in love with the program. He went on to study Computer Science and Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he spent his spare time mentoring team 3331. Upon graduating from university, he went on to work for Lenovo, and mentored team 4561. He moved to Austin in late 2022, started working for AMD, and has been mentoring LASA ever since. When he's not teaching students software and electrical skills, you can find him working on various open-source software projects, enjoying music, watching anime, and following Formula 1.

Shawn Dube

Shawn joined LASA Robotics in 2024 after a few years with an FTC robotics team. He has two students attending LASA, and is part of the Raptor Band pit crew. Shawn studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Rice University. He has a broad engineering background and currently works at Dell focused on future technologies and large compute clusters. Shawn enjoys spending time with his family, camping and mountain biking, tinkering, and is on a long quest to learn the piano.
Shawn Dube

Vince Kaufhold

Vince first joined LASA Robotics as a student back in 2014. After graduating from LASA, he studied Aerospace Engineering at Purdue University and spent 5 years mentoring FRC Team 461 in Indiana and 2 years mentoring FRC Team 931 in St. Louis. He currently works as an engineer for Boeing and has been happily mentoring LASA again since moving back to Austin in 2022. When he's not teaching students design and build skills, you can find Vince working on small scale battlebots or DJ'ing around town.

Coaches and Mentors of a FIRST team are, through the kids, the key ingredient in the success of the team. They help the teams on technology and other aspects of FIRST robotics.

LASA Robotics Mentors...

  • Create a positive and safe environment to learn by doing
  • Support the goals and core values of LASA Robotics
  • Inspire and motivate team members to reach and achieve their goals by:
    - Helping students determine what those goals are
    - Facilitating next level of learning

In loving memory of our mentor and friend

Riad Nassar
Our dear friend and mentor, Riad Nassar, passed away November 11, 2023. Not only has the LASA Robotics community and the greater Austin robotics community lost a mentor, but a FIRST/LASA Alumni and great friend. This program meant the world to Riad. Not because of the cool robots we built but because of how he saw countless LASA students, just like himself, build their skills and confidence through this program. Please share your pictures and memories of Riad on his memorial page:
Riad Nassar Memorial