Like any robotics team, it was with a deep feeling of remorse that we ended our season. We had put in hundreds of hours into our robot, code, and engineering notebook, and nearly 300 hours on outreach on top of this; still, we did not advance. Beneath these feelings of remorse, however, was an ever-present sense of fulfillment. All members of our team knew that despite the fact that our team wouldn’t be advancing, we had made connections that would last more than just a season.
One of my favorite things about being a girl in STEM is being able to share my love for it with other people. Our team did exactly that: we had been volunteering for a robotics program, that I had helped found, where we had dedicated hours of our weekend to bringing robotics to underprivileged families from across the state. Seeing an interest for engineering ignite in someone for the first time makes that day unforgettable. It felt as though each day we had put into the program, we saw this occur in someone new.
Recently, I was able to tap into one of my own students and instill this deep passion within her. It was amazing to watch: first, the excitement splashed across her face; then, her eyes widened with the feeling of joy of finding that missing piece; finally, I saw that ever-present tick-tick-ticking that our team members feel commence inside her as well. This ticking: it is the energy that pulls us out of bed every morning, the passion that drives us to work late hours into the night, the excitement that draws us all together. This was even more exciting for me, as I knew that many of our students wouldn’t have been exposed to robotics if it weren’t for this program.
It is moments like these that help us remember how fortunate we are to have so many opportunities, and why we are working so hard to bring equality to STEM fields.
Our season may be over, but Prototype G will continue to work diligently within our community in order to bring more underrepresented students into STEM.
-Aparna, co-captain of Prototype G - 11306
Now on our second year, we are proud to say that Prototype G, a reputable all-girls FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team from Princeton, NJ, is once again made up of 10 girls all of whom are united by our love for robotics.
FIRST is a global robotics program that is dedicated to educating, inspiring, and connecting students by engaging them in an interactive robotics program which incorporates computer science, engineering, and technology skills that inspire innovation. This program nurtures the skills needed in everyday life such as public speaking; it stresses the importance of teamwork, building connections, hands-on problem solving and much more.
Our team was created and is funded by SES who hosts our weekday meeting venue and YWCA Princeton (who strives to eliminate racism and empower women in all fields of study).