GIRL POWER

Alpharetta all-female robotics team goes international

Control+Alt+Delete seeks sponsors to represent state, nation this summer

Photo Provided by Blencoe and Co
Control+Alt+Delete team members in the back row, from left, are Anjali Boctcha, Kalissa Greene and Krishna Patel. In the front row are Sibel Olcal, Shriya Gupta, Claire Bowman, Manasvi Gaddam and Sofiya Jaramillo.
Photo Provided by Blencoe and Co
Photo
By JULIA GROCHOWSKI
Posted

A team of eighth-graders have recently made history as the first robotics team, not just at their school, but in the entire state of Georgia, to be invited to the First Lego League International Open Championship.

And what’s more, the team is all female.

“When Georgia’s FLL Operational Partner, Jeff Rosen, shared the news, I was elated,” said the team’s coach Yasin Kaya. “He explained that not only were they the first all-female team, but also that they were the first team ever to be chosen. I was speechless. This honor is not lost on these talented young ladies or myself.”

The team, Fulton Science Academy Private School’s Control+Alt+Delete, was chosen for this invitation-only competition after their successful season at regional, super regional and state FLL tournaments. They will soon face off against the best of the best that the world has to offer. Over 95 other teams from countries such as Egypt, India, Brazil, Israel, Japan, China and the United Kingdom will compete with Control+Alt+Delete this summer in England.

But to get there, they still need sponsors and help raising $10,000 to cover travel-related expenses. Tax-deductible contributions can be made to donate.fultonscienceacademy.org/robotics.

“This team is one that never says ‘never,’” said Rosen. “They are beautifully poised to represent Georgia and the United States this summer in the UK. Everyone is so excited to follow the team’s progress. These young women are very positive role models and I hope will encourage more girls to pursue (STEAM) science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics careers.”

Their achievements are especially notable considering the gender gap in STEAM careers. Less than one quarter of these fields are currently occupied by women, according to a 2016 report by the National Science Foundation.

Over 32,000 robotics teams compete annually at the lower-level FLL tournaments. The competitions challenge students to resolve real-world problems using their skills in STEAM fields. Ultimately, they are tasked with designing, building and programming a robot.

This year’s theme is “Animal Allies,” which asked students to propose their solutions with the use of an animal.

Control+Alt+Delete decided to tackle this problem by exploring ways to eliminate mosquitos without resorting to pesticides or other chemicals. Ultimately, they turned to bats as a natural remedy and adopted the bat as their team’s symbol.

As part of the FLL competition, Control+Alt+Delete constructed a bat house with a vent that was programmed to automatically open or close to maintain temperatures bats prefer. They also constructed several smaller mosquito traps, using a combination of carbon dioxide, fans and LED lights, to attract the insects and suck them into an enclosure.

The international championship will be held June 21-25 at the University of Bath, U.K.

“We chose the Control+Alt+Delete, because if you push the keys on the keyboard, they will completely override the computer,” said team member Claire Bowman. “By themselves, they have their own individual strengths, but when you use them together, they can do anything.” ■

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