Excitement filled the air as the Northville Robostangs assembled an all-girls team to compete at the Bloomfield Hills Girls Robotics Competition for the first time. Pulling out all the stops, the Robostangs prepared themselves to succeed by thoroughly training new, inexperienced members and a new all-girls drive team.
“Drive team wasn’t just hoping not to embarrass ourselves, we were playing to win. Our driver and manipulation practiced for around three weeks, almost every other day,” said team member May Murray.
The tournament took place on Saturday, November 11, 2017, at Bloomfield Hills High School, where 32 teams battled head-to-head to win. Hosted by teams 33, 68, 469 and 2834, the annual competition reinforces and actively promotes the idea that women can have dominant roles in engineering and business fields. The drive team, pit crew and human player must be high school-age girls. All of the proceeds from the event went toward five individual $1,000 scholarships for high school senior girls to help enable them to pursue careers they are passionate about.
“There’s really not a huge number of women currently studying STEM majors and in STEM fields, so our involvement is incredibly important and needs to be encouraged to increase this number,” said Kira McCorry. “Celebrating women in STEM encourages more girls to join clubs and teams like robotics and to look into STEM careers.”
The Robostangs team is excited to support all-girls team events like this one. Even though male team members are not allowed to interact with the robot during competition, they are allowed to show support for their teams. This particular rule allows women and men to be on the same platform, allowing them both to have experience regarding all aspects of competitions.
“I think it’s a good experience for girls on the team, and it helps provide opportunities for more girls to get involved,” said Awards Captain Agnes Dunne. “I think it’s good too because younger girls at the competition and on the team have role models to look up to.”
All the preparations paid off at the competition, as the Robostangs ranked tenth overall coming out of the qualification matches, and ranking third at one point. Coming out of the qualification matches, the Robostangs were the number one pick by the fourth alliance, and partnered up with the Martians (#494), Metal Muscle (#1506) and Truck Town Thunder (#68). Playing smart, they made it all the way to the semifinals, even stopping the EngiNERDS from scoring fuel in the high goal, but unfortunately they did not continue to the finals.
Finance lead Tanvi Doshi said, “Being on the business side, you don’t really get the full experience of robotics, but this competition has shown me how interesting building the robot can be. We put in a lot of hard work and performed well at our first all-girls competition.”
The real win was that the Robostang girls put everything into this competition and proved that they can perform as well as any other male or female team.