Meet the Planning Committee

Matthew Barulic - Hub Director

Matthew is an alumnus of the Fernbank LINKS team. After finishing a master's degree in computer science at Georgia Tech, and spending a few years working for a variety of robotics startups, he now works as a software engineer, building robots for Microsoft. Outside of Georgia BEST, you'll find him mentoring the Georgia Tech RoboJackets.

Jessie Liu - Hub Coordinator

Jessie is an alumna of CircuitRunners Robotics from Wheeler High School. She spent three years competing in BEST, co-leading the team in her senior year. Having received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, she is pursuing a master's degree at the same institute.

Dr. Debi Foley - Hub Advisor

Debi has been on this journey with students since 1973. She was doing STEM when STEM wasn't a "word!" Working with the best students from Metro Atlanta and beyond is a gift. They keep her motivated and energized! Having recently begun a well-earned retirement from education and directing our hub, Debi continues to support BEST as an advisor for our hub.

Dennis Jin

Dennis is a mechatronics student at Kennesaw State University. After spending three years competing in BEST Robotics, he is excited to give back as a member of the planning committee and head referee for the hub.

Brenden Smothers

Brenden is an alumnus of Team 705 Rome High School, and is a current student at Berry College pursuing an engineering, applied physics, and teaching degree. He is a big fan of Georgia BEST and wants to eventually work for Texas Instruments.

Michael Foley smiling and clapping while watching a BEST robotics event.

In memory of Michael Foley

We'd like to take this space to remember Michael Foley, a long standing member of our planning committee who passed unexpectedly in January of 2022. Michael served as our head judge and was a key player to making our hub events happen for many years. His support of Georgia STEM education wasn't limited to BEST robotics, and he was a regular volunteer for local FIRST robotics events as well. We miss him dearly and our memories of him continue to inspire the work we do at Georgia BEST today.