Technology Student Association
Ithaca High School

Advisors and Officers

Mr. Breigle

IHSTSA is led by Mr. Scott Breigle, Ithaca High School Technology Department Head and renowned technology teacher. During the school day, Mr. Breigle teaches high-level courses in the Project Lead the Way sequence, such as Computer Integrated Manufacturing and Principles of Engineering. As a teacher, Mr. Breigle’s main goal is to spark interest and love for learning and to help students to develop practical skills in technology. On a deeper level. Mr. Breigle hopes to encourage students to pursue technology and STEM as a potential career.

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Mr. Breigle

Mr. Breigle’s interest in TSA and technology began early. After he won an event for CO2 dragsters in middle school, Mr. Breigle first realized his love for STEM disciplines and the field of engineering. While Mr. Breigle couldn’t see the purpose of many skills taught in math classes, he instantly recognized how applicable many skills taught in technology classes could be in the real world. Mr. Breigle went on to study teaching technology at SUNY Oswego, and then to get a master’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Luckily, Mr. Breigle joined IHSTSA and has worked with the chapter as a head advisor for one and a half years. To many students in the chapter, Mr. Breigle is special for his sheer dedication to the chapter. In many instances, Mr. Breigle has changed his schedule and went to lengths to find his young children childcare in order to work with students in TSA after hours.

Mr. Breigle’s specific focus for IHSTSA this year is building a greater sense of family and community. “With so many students working in small or individual events, students sometimes work in isolation,” he said. Since so many students work on individual events, the focus for students can often be on their own success rather than the success of the entire team and chapter. TSA can be a highly competitive environment, but this year, students instantly have realized there is a greater sense of friendship and community in the chapter.

When Mr. Breigle isn’t teaching or working on some tech-related thing, he devotes his time to golf, skiing, boating, and woodworking.

Ms. Kiechle

My increased interest in STEM happened when I started co-teaching in the technology and engineering classes. I have always liked science and have taught science, but co-teaching in the tech classes really stirred something in me.

A few years ago, Ms. Kiechle served as a chaperone for the IHSTSA delegation at the TSA National Conference. Since then, her love of TSA has grown and she has added her special education students to the team. “To help support those students and because I like TSA, the students, and the experiences it offers students I became a co-advisor,” said Ms. Kiechle.

This year, as Ms. Kiechle took on new administrative responsibilities, she found that the time she could spend on TSA became severely limited. However, she is still able to make many meetings and participate in many big decisions. Additionally, she noted that “It has worked out that [Mr. Breigle] is comfortable with taking the lead, so I can have increased flexibility with my level of participation.”

Even if Ms. Kiechle allows Mr. Breigle take the lead on many projects, the chapter could not possibly function without her. IHSTSA members will fondly remember long nights with Ms. Kiechle in her national’s hotel room, messing with the printer to get a few lingering pages of information in their event binders. No matter how late or how long, Ms. Kiechle presents infectious positive energy that always keeps our members confident and motivated during meetings and conferences.

In her extremely scarce free time, Ms. Kiechle enjoys spending time with her daughter and the rest of her family. Reading, shopping, painting, and woodworking are her favorite ways to spend time.

Officers

Francesca Chu

I love being an officer because I like to help other people appreciate TSA as much as I do.

IHSTSA President, TSA extraordinaire, and exceptionally fun person—that’s Francesca Chu ‘18. Francesca joined TSA in 8th grade and later that year shocked everyone with a stellar performance at the National Conference in Washington D.C., where she won first place in Essays on Technology and finalized in several other events. What’s even more impressive is that her abilities haven’t slipped at all.

Francesca favors arts-oriented events like Essays on Technology, Music Production, and Children’s Stories, telling us that she loves how she “can work on something STEM-related through writing, which isn't necessarily what you would expect.” Francesca is known for being incredibly talented with language, and is a formidable opponent in any speech and debate or writing competitions. Despite her language skills, Francesca has the greatest success in the Music Production event, where she has had two consecutive second-place finishes at the national level.

In addition to working on TSA events, Francesca has traditionally managed IHSTSA’s finances since 10th grade as the club’s treasurer, until this year, when she handed off the reigns to Katrina Jander and Kasia Fadeeva. “I like being an officer because I like to help other people appreciate TSA as much as I do,” she said. Chu also serves as the New York State TSA Secretary.

Outside of TSA, Chu is a member of the Ithaca High School Mock Trial and Quiz Bowl teams, as well as the layout editor of the school newspaper, The IHS Tattler. She enjoys baking, and reading and writing fiction. Chu also has a fictitious persona as the leader of The Tattler’s ninja-journalist investigative unit. Francesca will attend UChicago in September.

Eli Zhang

I have a lot of diverse interests—electronics, rapping, and public speaking— but TSA allows me to do everything in one club. It’s amazing, and I love to share the enthusiasm TSA helps me create with all our members.

One of the most ebullient and outgoing members of the IHSTSA officer team, Vice President Eli Zhang ‘18 adds a unique feeling of energy to the chapter. Since 7th grade, Eli has accumulated a number of events in which he is a perennial contender. Most notably, Eli has two-straight second-place finishes in the Music Production event in Nashville and Orlando, respectively, wowing judges with smooth rapping about defining one’s future or having a vision for a future in STEM. Eli’s rapping first began in middle school, when he created a humorous and original rap to commemorate Pi Day.

When Eli isn’t rapping or succeeding in TSA events, you could find him in his electronics-oriented room, soldering wires and circuit boards for his latest project, a custom desktop speaker. Eli is also captain of the Mock Trial team, and brings his eloquent and impactful speaking style to the attorney table. Eli mainly attributes his skills in speaking to TSA, which he claims “fostered his confidence when speaking and presenting.”

Aside from engaging with Eli in some academic activity or project, another way to instantly become Eli’s friend is to express an undying love for samosas. Consistently, you could hear Eli exclaim how delicious a samosa is at his favorite downtown restaurant, Diamonds, or a sigh of satisfaction after eating the frozen samosas he can make at home. Whether it’s Music Production, samosas, or the vice presidency, Eli present unique energy and outlook that inspires even the youngest TSA members.

Katrina Jander

“I love to work in TSA, because it continually challenges me to broaden my interests. I could be stuck in one mindset to focus on robotics and mechanics, but instead I have a place where I can explore robotics, flight, and bridge design.”

During officer meetings, it isn’t a rare sight to see a senior member of the robotics team run into the room and ask for Katrina’s assistance to fix the plasma cutter or lathe. That’s because Co-Treasurer Katrina Jander ‘20 is a leading member of both Ithaca High School TSA and Ithaca Robotics. Last year at the National Conference in Orlando, Katrina won fourth place in the Structural Model event, and just a month before, participated in the National Robotics competition in St. Louis, Missouri.

Aside from having a special touch with machines and balsa wood bridges, Katrina also has immense athletic prowess. Every night after robotics or TSA meetings, Katrina bikes miles to her home, up a steep hill which imparts fear in even the best drivers. Nevertheless, Katrina bikes, sun and rain, sleet and hail, sometimes even carrying a large backpack or musical instrument. Katrina also actively participates on the girls rowing team, with faster rowing split times than even the most motivated and confident boys on the team.

Katrina takes this competitiveness and motivation to the table in TSA. When her balsa wood behaves strangely or her glue doesn’t set, she doesn’t bat an eye and stays cool, just like on the slopes or on the water. By contributing such infectious and motivational energy to the team, everyone can make meetings productive and exciting.

Kasia Fadeeva

Even though TSA is relatively new to me, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I love being able to explore the properties of balsa wood in flight, but above all, I love to help new members understand what’s going on and come to appreciate TSA for what it is.

One of the newest members of IHSTSA, Co-Treasurer Kasia Fadeeva ‘19 certainly doesn’t show it. In her first year in TSA in 2017, she won the CAD 3D event at the state competition, and constructed an incredibly impressive flight submission. Even though she is rather unassuming and reserved, Kasia is known to be one of the most talented members of the chapter.

Aside from succeeding in IHSTSA, Kasia also runs the Ithaca Welcomes Refugees club, an organization designed to raise money to bring refugees to Ithaca. Moreover, Kasia has participated in Science Olympiad since middle school, and frequently brings her preexisting scientific knowledge to the table in TSA. When she isn’t working late nights at TSA, Kasia plays doubles on the varsity tennis team, and is a beloved team member wherever she goes.

Matthew Guo

Music Production is my vice. In TSA, once you get started with something. It’s super hard to stop. Except when I have to take minutes—I’m always on top of that.

Surprisingly, you wouldn’t expect the soft-spoken Secretary Matthew Guo ‘18 to be the renowned “PolarBearr” on SoundCloud. In fact, Matthew’s musical brainchild—the IHS Music Production submission—consistently finalizes at the national conference. This year, Matthew hopes to improve his consecutive second-place finishes to a winning submission this year. By uploading his TSA submissions to SoundCloud, Matthew has slowly garnered public acclaim, with Music-Production hopefuls direct messaging him frequently for advice. On the Music Production team, Matthew is responsible for the beat and electronic production of music.

When Matthew isn’t taking minutes in TSA or uploading hot new tracks to SoundCloud, he enjoys wrestling with problems in Math Club at the high school, and encourages underclassmen to join TSA.

Tilden Chao

When I was in 8th grade, my love for TSA was piqued when I competed in the Junior Solar Sprint event. I remember the long hours of work for months on end, just to perfect our finished product. I loved TSA after that—and I want our community to know how much this club means to us.

The mind behind the IHSTSA Instagram aesthetic and Twitter profile, Reporter Tilden Chao ‘19 has a passion for succinct and informative social media posts and outreach to local organizations. At TSA conferences, Tilden puts his social media energies to use in the Extemporaneous Speech and Debating Technology Issues events, where he reflects on prescient and significant current events to explain social issues.

Out of all members in TSA, Tilden may do one of the best jobs in competing in a breadth of events. “Because TSA offers so many great opportunities for students—robotics, dragsters, speech, and animation—I figure I should take advantage of what we are offered,” Tilden concludes. In fact, in his first time in the Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) competitive event in Orlando, Tilden placed third at the national conference with the ProjectOrlando, a portable and collapsible smartphone projector.

When Tilden isn’t working in the technology wing at the high school, you could find him a variety of extracurricular activities. Tilden actively participates in Student Council and plays alto saxophone in the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band. His greatest musical highlight of the school year was “probably playing with Wynton Marsalis,” the director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and one of the most renowned contemporary jazz trumpeters in American history.

Andrei Tumbar

We have so much fun in TSA, but it’s my job to make sure that everyone’s safe. I like to think of myself as the caretaker of everyone in the chapter, since I make sure meetings run smoothly and people carry themselves responsibly.

Perhaps the officer whose personality most matches the duties of the office, Sergeant-At-Arms Andrei Tumbar ‘19 always keeps chapter members on task with his loud voice and undying energy. Last year, the standing officers identified Andrei as a potential candidate for Sergeant-At-Arms after hearing him motivate at his Webmaster teammates. His voice (which can be heard even in adjacent hallways) lights up the room at the beginning and end of every chapter meeting.

When Andrei isn’t keeping chapter members in line, he is the team hype-man for the varsity tennis team, and instills fear in even the most composed opponents, by shouting a blood-curdling “LET’S GO RED!” before every match. This year, Andrei hopes to bring the same energy to the national conference. Andrei finds “New York State is clearly marginalized and underrepresented at the national conference. I hope to lead all the cheers for our state and out-scream even Georgia and Florida at the general sessions. I think I can top them.”

Although superficially Andrei may seem like an intimidating figure at meetings, he is actually a reserved intellectual when it comes to coding. Andrei spends hours at a time coding for his top-10-hopeful Webmaster project, once beginning to code upon sundown and being shocked when he saw the sun starting to rise. Moreover, aside from developing ways to make his website successful, he has also devised a method to improve his home to school commute. As a way to save energy and time, Andrei hops on the coal train that passes by the high school. With a free train fare, Andrei saves gas money and time in traffic.