Getting to know the Gadget Girls (4816)

DiscovHER invites you to get to know Gadget Girls 4816, an all-girl high school robotics team based in North Carolina, USA.

They’re goal, as they state on their website is “to share our passion for STEM, and all the fun that goes with it!” and they believe in an “atmosphere where everyone contributes, everyone learns and everyone respects everyone else”. These inspirational girls, who recently participated in a regional competition on April 2-3rd, are doing pretty well and showing us what girl power (or Puella potential, as the Gadget Girls say) is all about!

You are currently in the midst of competition season: Tell us about these competitions. How are they going and what are your goals?

We compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) where we have six weeks to build and program a robot to play a game that is released on the first day of those six weeks. This year the game is called FIRST Stronghold and it is like capture the tower. We have to work on an alliance with two other teams to cross different obstacles, called defenses, to score points as well as weaken the opponent's tower by scoring balls, or "boulders," in high and low goals. 

 At the beginning of each match there is an autonomous period where we program the robot to run by itself to score extra points and after that we are the ones driving it to compete against the other alliance. 

 At the end we can get points by surrounding the opponent's tower and if we have also weakened their tower we get more points for capturing it. There is even an option to earn more points by making your robot climb the tower!

The competitions are going very well. We have one left on April 2&3rd and hopefully we will qualify for the state championship. At our 1st competition we were picked to be on the 4th seed alliance because our robot did so well and was very consistent. We made it to the semi-finals with our alliance. We also won the imagery award for our sleek robot design and creative use of materials- recycling cookie boxes from the Girl Scout cookies our troops had sold.

What would be your advice to other young women like yourselves who want to pursue careers in STEM?

Just go for it! Stop fixating on the fact that you are a girl because the robots don’t care about your gender and science doesn’t either!

Any women scientists role models you are inspired by?

We are inspired by Mayim Bialik because she is awesome and works hard to promote STEM and Hedy LaMarr because she helped make advances in signal broadcasting that led Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi is very important to us.

Even though he’s not a woman Bill Nye the science guy inspired all of us because all he wants to do is inspire little kids to do science with his TV show. Also, his show was our favorite when we were younger.

Are you interested in pursuing a scientific career in the future? If so, what type of career?

We have various goals!

Julianna is interested in a career in math, Raven is interested in something to do with STEAM, which is STEM plus an “A” for art, so animation or architecture would be cool. Alex is interested in anatomy and ophthalmology because in 4th grade she went to a museum and saw a cow eye being dissected and she thought it was so cool! As she says, “I’ve been hooked since”.

Has there ever been a time when you felt that being an all-girls robotics team was an obstacle? How did you overcome it?

We make friends at the competition with tall people on other teams so that we can get help from them putting up our flag. Also, sometimes people underestimate our abilities but after talking to us they realize that we definitely know what’s going on and can hold our own.

What do you think about these inspiring young girls pursuing their dreams? Let us know @4womeninscience

For Women in Science

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