Meet a Mentor Monday: Brian Holmgren

Today, we are delighted to kick off a new series: Meet a Mentor Monday, where we’ll introduce you to mentors from across the region who make a difference in students’ lives.

We start with Brian Holmgren of Warrensburg, Mo., who holds a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, a Master of Science in Systems Management and a Master of Arts in Teaching. Brian is a robotics teacher at Warrensburg High School, but got there in an unconventional way.

“I graduated high school and joined the Army National Guard as a radio repairman. Two years later I joined the Air Force as a surgery technician. After taking many off-duty college courses, I was awarded a scholarship to finish my degree in Aerospace Engineering and got a commission in the Air Force in 1984,” Brian said. “I worked in acquisition management, earned a Master of Science in Systems Management in 1990, and taught acquisition management until 1996 when I became a Civil Engineer to follow my wife on her Air Force Assignments.”

He didn’t pick up teaching until after he retired from the Air Force in 2003. He chose to teach high school science to make a difference for students. After coaching FIRST Robotics Competition at Van Horn High School in the Independence School District, Brian helped start an FRC team at Warrensburg High School and a few years later added an FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) team.

“A couple of years ago I was asked to come out of retirement to teach some robotics courses, and here I am,” Brian said.
He believes anyone can find a role in mentoring young people with an interest in STEM.

“People feel they need to be an engineer or an expert in robotics to mentor,” Brian said. “While that is ideal, there are so many aspects to a robotics team (that) anybody with an interest in helping kids advance can be a great mentor.”