Reboot, recharge

Robotics department begins the school’s first all-girls team


Amiya Callicutt

Sophomore Alyssa Vaughn builds her robot during the girls robotics club meeting.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct number of teams at the school.  

Robotics and girls. What do these things have in common? Traditionally, nothing. However, the school has been making strides to put girls at the forefront of engineering.

“It’s way more than a club; we created a community,” engineering teacher Josh Strickland said.

This year, Strickland started the first all-girls robotics team at the high school while continuing the five other existing teams. 

“We now have two brand new teams,”Strickland said. “One of them is completely all girls and the other is over half girls. This is historic because there has never been an all-girls team or a team that’s over 50% girls [at Lovejoy].” 

The team meets every day after school except Mondays. During their meetings, the girls work together on designing, programming and working out strategies for upcoming competitions. 

“Different girls have different experiences and backgrounds, and that can just bring more,” team captain and sophomore Alyssa Vaughn said.

According to Strickland, the team has been a mostly male club for years.

“You look at all the competitions–all the team makeup it’s almost always all boys,” Strickland said. “Recruiting girls to join these teams is difficult, and that’s why you’re seeing a lot of other companies and organizations having these initiatives like Girl Powered.”  

Girl Powered is an initiative in which all-girls teams work together to compete in the all female version of the worldwide The Vex Robotics Competition.

  With the support of the school, the teams are able to demonstrate the result of several team meetings and time spent working in the lab.

“Girls can do anything,” engineering department chair Tania Vaughn said. “Some of those girls are our smartest engineers, so giving them the basics that they need at this level [is important].”

Like Vex Robotics, some technology companies are starting to begin programs like Girl Powered to get women involved in the STEM field.

“Look at almost any tech or engineering company and I can almost guarantee you, you’re gonna see some initiative or program to get more girls involved in engineering, science, robotics, etcetera,” Strickland said.

The school’s new addition of a girls robotics team coincides with Strickland’s predicted increase of females in the engineering field.

”I think it’s revolutionary for Lovejoy,” Alyssa Vaughn said, “and that it is a whole new era for robotics.”