Member Spotlight: Dontavius Lamar Jarrells

564339_581663654797_1312899856_n Many of you may know Dontavius through his work with FCYDems and as Vice President of the Ohio Young Black Democrats, but his service to his community doesn’t end there. He serves as a robotics coach for students participating in an organization called F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration Recognition in Science and Technology). Dontavius has been a volunteer robotics coach to children for over four years, and has been involved in the F.I.R.S.T. program for over eleven. He is the coach to a team called ‘the Gobodies,’ a name playing off the term ‘nobodies’ but turned into a positive name about how “these kids are going places.”

On February 7-8th, the Gobodies are headed to Dayton for the F.L.L. (F.I.R.S.T. Lego League) State Championship, after having won in the district and regional competitions this season. The competition will involve three sections, with the main competition being a lego robotics tournament focused on maneuvering robots on a course and completing various tasks within two and a half minutes.

Dontavius was quick to point out why he volunteers to be a coach, saying “where you come from doesn’t determine where you go.” Being one of a few African American coaches in the competition he participates in, he has made it a mission to get urban youth involved in science and technology, stating that he wants to “help them get exposure to a wider array of career opportunities… All too often, urban youth are not granted the opportunity to learn about real applications of math and science, and are not aware of what possibilities that lie ahead of them. By the time they begin thinking about potential jobs or career choices, their perceptions of the possibilities are limited.”

Dontavius is dedicated to providing a pathway and widening horizons for these children by giving them more access to opportunities and programs dedicated to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The competitions themselves are also designed to develop valuable life skills. In fact, much of the competition is judged on how well a team practices gracious professionalism, teamwork, and collaboration with other teams. You can learn more about Dontavius’ team and donate to their other project on applied mathematics via Kickstarter here.


Know someone who should be recognized in our next member spotlight? Email our Communications Director, Brooke Wojdynski at and submit their name.

Written by Brooke Wojdynski


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