Eric Borromeo has never had formal training in science or engineering, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing science on the side. For the past eight school years, Borromeo — who completed graduate studies in accounting and holds the CPA designation — has spent about 11 hours a week volunteering with students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“I’m pretty passionate about robotics and STEM,” said Borromeo, senior vice president and loan team manager for Wells Fargo’s Eastern Canada Middle Market Banking in Toronto. “It’s always been an area of interest for me.”
Borromeo volunteers with FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Canada — an organization that offers students in elementary through high school the opportunity to pursue further studies in STEM, work in teams with adult mentors, build robots, and compete in tournaments. FIRST Lego® League is a competition involving 32,000 teams of students aged 9 to 16 from around the world.
As a FIRST Lego League coach to a team of fifth- through ninth-graders at Bayview Glen School in Toronto, Borromeo introduces younger students to engineering by designing, building, and programming Lego-based robots, and challenging them to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems faced by their community — while demonstrating teamwork and collaboration at all times.
“I think this is a nice way for me to dabble in science without actually pursuing a career in the field,” said Borromeo, who received a Wells Fargo Volunteer Service Award of $5,000 in 2015 and was honored this year with the Divisional Community Leader of the Year Award of $1,000 — both for FIRST Robotics Canada.
In April 2017, Borromeo’s team, Ctrl-Z Bayview Glen, represented Canada at the FIRST Championship World Festival in St. Louis. At the event, the seven-member team finished first out of 104 of the best teams globally. This was only the second time a Canadian FIRST Lego League team has been awarded this honor.
“Very few individuals get the opportunity to represent their country … in sports or any other endeavor,” Borromeo said. “The fact that FIRST has given these students that opportunity is huge.”