“Girls of Steel Robotics (featured 2014) was founded in 2010 at Carnegie Mellon University’s Field Robotics Center as FRC Team 3504. The organization now serves multiple FIRST robotics teams offering STEM opportunities for people of all ages.
Since 2019, Girls of Steel also organizes FIRST Ladies, an online community for anyone involved in FIRST robotics programs who supports girls and women in STEM. Their mission statement reflects their commitment to empowering everyone for success in STEM: “Girls of Steel empowers everyone, especially women and girls, to believe they are capable of success in STEM.”
Girls of Steel celebrated their 10th year in FIRST robotics with a Virtual Gala in May 2020 featuring a panel of four Girls of Steel alumni showcasing a range of STEM opportunities. One is a PhD student in Robotics at CMU, two are working as engineers, and one is a computer science teacher. Girls of Steel are extremely proud of their alumni, of whom 80% are studying or working in STEM fields.
In August 2020, Girls of Steel successfully organized 3 weeks of virtual summer camps and were also able to run 4 teams in a virtual FIRST LEGO League program from September 2020. Girls of Steel also restructured their FIRST team and launched two new sub teams; Advocacy and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) focusing on continuing their efforts to advocate for after-school STEM programs, and for creating an inclusive environment that welcomes all Girls of Steel members. The DEI sub team manages a suggestion box where members can anonymously post ideas for team improvements.
In 2016, Robohub published a follow up on the Girls of Steel and their achievements.
In 2017, Girls of Steel won the 2017 Engineering Inspiration award (Greater Pittsburgh Regional), which “celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community.”
In 2018, Girls of Steel won the 2018 Regional Chairman’s Award (Greater Pittsburgh Regional), the most prestigious award at FIRST, it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.
In 2019, Girls of Steel won the 2019 Gracious Professionalism Award (Greater Pittsburgh Regional), which celebrates the outstanding demonstration of FIRST Core Values such as continuous Gracious Professionalism and working together both on and off the playing field.
And in 2020, Girls of Steel members, Anna N. and Norah O., received 2020 Dean’s List Finalist Awards (Greater Pittsburgh Regional) which reflects their ability to lead their teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission while achieving personal technical expertise and accomplishment.
Clearly, all the Girls of Steel over the last ten years are winners. Many women in robotics today point to an early experience in a robotics competition as the turning point when they decided that STEM, particularly robotics, was going to be in their future. We want to thank all the Girls of Steel for being such great role models, and sharing the joy and fun of building robots with other girls/women. It’s working! (And it’s worth it!)
Want to keep reading? There are 180 more stories on our 2013 to 2020 lists. Why not nominate someone for inclusion next year!
And we encourage #womeninrobotics and women who’d like to work in robotics to join our professional network at http://womeninrobotics.org