PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Robotic arms corral a bouncing ball in a central arena as competitors give chase.
Area high school teams square off in what is known as the “FIRST” Robotic Competition. And no one works harder than the “Girls of Steel.”
The team is made up of 49 girls from 22 schools. One of them is cyber school senior Lynn Urbina. She says the Girls of Steel changed her life.
“I know that if I wasn’t on the team, I wouldn’t know that I like mechanical engineering,” she says. “I would have just thought, ‘I don’t know what I want to do when I get in college.’ But from this team, I’m able to say, I want to do mechanical engineering. I want to design. I want to make products that make other people’s lives better. So, I found what I really wanted. And I think that’s something powerful.”
George Kantor, of the CMU Robotics Institute, has been lead mentor of the Girls of Steel since they started four years ago.
“The idea of forming this team was to create an opportunity where girls could have a safe space to get their hands on these kinds of tools,” he says, “and get used to working with technology, and get comfortable with it; and hopefully, go on to careers in those fields.”
A total of 48 teams battle it out.
Only eight will go to the final round. One of those teams is the Girls of Steel, who eventually finish sixth.
Engineering is no longer just a boys’ club.
“I realized there’s this whole world of engineering I never knew existed,” Urbina says.