Pittsburgh Girls of Steel at the World Robotics Championships

They are the 2022 edition of Rosie the Riveters.

A strong woman since the 1940s, Rosie has been a pioneer in representing women in unconventional work. She is a source of inspiration for the group Girls made of steel Robotics.

They wear a red banana with white dots – a recognizable pattern from the classic photos of Rosie the Riveter. Their mascot is named after her. They embody Rosie’s “We Can Do It” spirit.

These young women study science, technology, engineering and math – and are good at all of these disciplines.

Now they have developed their own robot.

“Being part of Girls of Steel gives me the opportunity to connect with like-minded people,” said Alex George, senior at Plum Senior High School, a group practice center in Pittsburgh’s East End. “It simply came to my notice then. It’s a really valuable experience. “

With the consent of the Girls of Steel Robotics

Two members of the Girls of Steel group are discussing ways to improve their robot named Lightning McQueen. The team competed in the World Championships in Houston, Texas this week, which runs until Saturday, April 23rd.

The Girls of Steel is a high school student from about 20 schools in Pittsburgh. They are participating in a program sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University that provides employment and connects girls with mentors.

They spent a few days this week at the World Cup in Houston, Texas, from Wednesday to Saturday. They are the only team from Pennsylvania to compete with about 400 first-level robotics teams from around the world. The Girls of Steel won the regional award at the Buckeye Regional Competition and the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award at the Greater Pittsburgh Regional Competition earlier this month.

During the competition, teams design, build, and program a robot to perform tasks such as shooting a ball through funnel-like arcs or hanging it on a scaffold in front of other robots. The robot earns points by climbing higher and hanging on scaffolding and successfully making bags.

They competed in 10 qualifying matches and had a 5-5 record.

Their robot is named Lightning Makvyn and weighs about 120 pounds. It is red and lights up after each successful shot. It is computer controlled. Each student on the team has a role to play.

“We share what we learn from others,” said Somdatta Basu, a senior at South Fayette High School. “It is important to introduce this to younger girls as well. This experience has taught me that everything I can imagine can be done.

Basu said he befriended girls he would probably never have met. She said she had learned better communication skills and how to deal with conflict – two important life skills.

“It’s great to see their progress,” said George Cantor of Squirrel Hill, a professor who has worked at the university’s robotics institute for 22 years and is a key mentor. “When they first come, some of them tell me they don’t think they can do it. Our goal is to open the door and show them the way.

“It simply came to our notice then.

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With the consent of the Girls of Steel Robotics

Two members of the Girls of Steel group are working on a robot called Lightning Makvynas. The team competed in the World Championships in Houston, Texas this week, which runs until Saturday, April 23rd.

The atmosphere in Houston is extremely vibrant. It’s like being in a rock concert and a science fair at the same time, Kantor said. There’s music, lights, dancing, costumes and, of course, robots, Cantor said. He said all teams are linked by a common thread.

Terry Richards of O’Hara is a mentor and information program manager. She said she is surprised every year by the team and how the girls inspire others.

“This year, the team includes seniors who have been part of the Girls of Steel program since high school,” Richards said. “They are now mentoring primary and secondary school students and newer team members.

“Our program provides a sustainable cycle of leadership, learning, and role modeling for our members and our members. By building robots, they create the future. “

Elizabeth Crookston, team captain and senior at Fox Chapel Area High School, said connecting with other teams was one of many positive travel experiences. Ciara Anderson, one of the team’s leaders and junior from Avonworth High School, said her favorite part of the competition is to see the robot compete.

“We worked really hard and I was glad that all our hard work paid off,” Anderson said.

“Iteration and continuous improvement are a big part of our success, so we’ve explored several ways to improve our performance on the ground,” Cantor said. “It simply came to our notice then. The robot scored more than 20 points per game from 15 points. It was an effort to be proud of and it was a lot of fun to watch.

Participating in the competition in Houston is great, said Harshitha Lingam, a sophomore at South Fayette High School. It was such a great experience when I was able to see and interact with teams from all over the world and get to know them not only in the field of robotics.

“It was really so amazing to see that all our hard work during the season paid off,” Lingam said.

Pine-Richland High School junior Sreyashi Mondal said she learned so much by walking through pits and talking to teams about what makes their robot special.

“I am very grateful to be here,” Mondal said.

Upper St. Clair senior Aditri Thakur said she is more confident than when she started. She’s trying something that doesn’t fall within her comfort zone.

The focus is on learning to build a robot. But girls also develop networking skills and learn the importance of teamwork.

“We inspire each other,” Basu said. “How Rosie the Riveter Inspired Us.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, jharrop@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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