Mission statement

Hic quaerite virtutem et scientiam.

Here, seek goodness and knowledge.

FIRST is more than robots!

About Us

Founded in the fall of 2018, our team consists of a diverse group of students passionate about using knowledge in robotics and STEAM to benefit larger communities. Though we have enjoyed enormous success, we continue to strive to explore the limit of the intersection of knowledge and creativity. Going into our fourth year, we are thrilled by the challenges that await us in the upcoming 2021-2022 season!

  • Gender ratio of 5:5:1 (male : female : non-binary)

  • Students from 5 countries and 7 U.S. states

  • 5 students with no prior FTC experience


Vincent Xiao
Chief Executive Officer + Chief Technical Officer

Vincent Xiao is a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy. In addition to having participated in all levels of FIRST and VEX robotics, Vincent has also built robots for the SeaPerch and ROV MATE underwater competitions. His robot designs have won a dozen regional and state championships, qualified for the world championship seven times, and set five world records. Besides having coached multiple FLL, VEX IQ, and VEX EDR teams, Vincent also serves as a manager/counselor for multiple STEM programs and a judge/referee for numerous robotics competitions. Vincent is very excited to continue his robotics journey here at VERTEX!

Celine Tan
Chief Operating Officer + Chief Human Resources Officer

Celine is a twelfth grader at Phillips Exeter. Though she began as a rookie with little robotics experience, she had a passion for anything computer-related! During her first year, she worked primarily on Computer Aided Design and the Engineering Notebook, transitioning to leading the community outreach committee the following year.  This year, Celine's looking forward to expanding the scope of VERTEX’s outreach activities. She’s grateful for the opportunity to join a FIRST Tech Challenge team that being at Exeter has given her, and hopes to spread her love of everything FIRST stands for to the larger community.

Deborah Ang
Head of Mechanical

Deborah is currently a sophomore at Phillips Exeter, originally from San Jose, California. She first participated in FLL from 4th-6th grade, then transferred to FTC at the local high school from 7th to 8th grade. On the mechanical subgroup of the team, she hopes to improve her CADing and design skills and looks forward to continuing her robotics career at Exeter!

Tanish Tyagi
Head of Programming

Tanish is a junior at Phillips Exeter. This is his second year with VERTEX robotics, and at his previous school, he was part of the VEX team where they qualified for the world championships. He is passionate about using deep learning to innovate in the field of neuroscience. Tanish is excited to delve deeper into the field of robotics at VERTEX!

Riya Tyagi
Head of Outreach

Riya is a sophomore at Phillips Exeter. She has extensive experience with outreach work through programs and camps she has run over the summer, and is incredibly passionate about educating the community and spreading STEM! Riya is thankful to be part of the FTC team, and is excited and ready to take full advantage of the opportunity she has been given!


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