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FIRST Tech Challenge


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FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has given me many interesting experiences. When most people think about engineers, they picture a bunch of geeky guys sitting at a computer all day, not a high schooler in a gorilla suit with a comically over sized allen wrench. They don't tend to think of girls either.

I've been doing FIRST Tech Challenge for two years now. While I'm still the only girl on my team, I have loads of fun. I'll admit, when I signed on I never pictured myself programming a robot or making 3-D virtual models. At most, I thought I'd put a part or two together. And I never thought I'd take a trip to St. Louis to compete against teams from around the world.

Dancing "Cotton Eyed Joe" in a Gandalf costume in front of a crowd was not very high on the list either.

FTC is a program for high school students to make robots and compete to complete a task (this year the goal is to pick up blocks and put them in bins). After spending time prototyping, designing, programming, and building the robot the teams from a region get together and see which robots are the most effective. My team had only been around for two years, so I was shocked when we qualified to compete at Worlds.

Some people think that they're not smart enough to make a robot. This is rarely true. There's more than just math. Last year, I discovered that I have a certain talent for making digital models. No math involved (though I do enjoy algebra). Some people think that being a robotics kid means living up to the geeky, antisocial stereotype. Ridiculous. We have lives too, very fun ones actually. We play sports, go to parties, and make friends. I've actually made several at competitions, some of which were bronies.

The one thing that irritates me is when girls don't join because they're a girl. Being a girl in robotics is no different than being a boy. In fact, girls tend to have better attention to detail than most boys, which has been a help for my team. I'm not bragging, that's just how it is. But the point is that I'm not just "the girl" I'm part of the team. Being in robotics is an experience I would never miss, and I'd highly recommend joining for anybody. It's fun, you make friends, and you learn incredible skills. Plus, you can get some great scholarships. img-1369822-1-UNZJLhS.png

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You lucky son of a gun. The most technologically advanced class we have is CADD. I really want to go into software engineering and programming but it will be more difficult without a couple years under my belt.

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I think it would be really cool to make robots like that. Although I am not interested in that particular field (though I want to do something science-y), I don't understand why some girls think they can't do stuff because they are girls. I hope to become really good at whatever I do, and maybe I'll get a chance to make an epic robot sometime along the way!!! biggrin.png

Edited by TheSupremeLeaderOfChaos
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My school doesn't have anything like that I would love to do it though. One of my friends is on a team at his school and they have never made it to worlds but they got to nationals and had a great time. I envy you.


I think it would be really cool to make robots like that. Although I am not interested in that particular field (though I want to do something science-y), I don't understand why some girls think they can't do stuff because they are girls. I hope to become really good at whatever I do, and maybe I'll get a chance to make an epic robot sometime along the way!!! biggrin.png

If your going to make a robot make a four legged light blue robot with wings and rainbow hair for decoration... is this starting to sound familiar.

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My school doesn't have anything like that I would love to do it though. One of my friends is on a team at his school and they have never made it to worlds but they got to nationals and had a great time. I envy you.

If your going to make a robot make a four legged light blue robot with wings and rainbow hair for decoration... is this starting to sound familiar.

Nationals? That's interesting. I don't remember there being a nationals competition. Just qualifiers, then state, then worlds. Was the competition in St. Louis?

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No I don't think so and it might have been a different competition but I'mm pretty sure it was this one but it was 3 years ago so it could have been worlds if they change the city each year. The competition was to make a robot that picked up balls and organized them and put them in labeled baskets.Sound familiar?

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No I don't think so and it might have been a different competition but I'mm pretty sure it was this one but it was 3 years ago so it could have been worlds if they change the city each year. The competition was to make a robot that picked up balls and organized them and put them in labeled baskets.Sound familiar?

Hmm... sort of. I think my team did that for their first year, but I wasn't on yet. I don't think they even made it to State that year, which is part of why we were so shocked to make it to Worlds.

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