In a first, an all-girls robotics team from Mumbai will represent India at the First Global Challenge between October 24-27, 2019, in Dubai. More than 2,000 students from 193 countries will be competing at the event.
The FIRST Global, a not-for-profit organisation based in the United States, which invites nations from across the world to send their teams to compete at the annual Robotics Olympics themed around the greatest challenges facing our planet. Each year a different challenge takes centre stage to foster understanding and cooperation among the youth of the world as they use their abilities to solve the world’s problems.
This year’s theme ‘ocean opportunities’ is focused on ocean pollution that adversely affects marine life. It seeks to educate the participating teams about ocean preservation and challenges the budding scientists to build robots for cleaning our oceans.
The team from India called ‘Geared-up Girls Team’ consists of participants from grades 9-12 from 4 schools across Mumbai.
Aarushi Shah: Works on robot design, construction and electricals in the team.
Radhika Sekhsaria: Responsible for fundraising and programming.
Aayushi Nainan: Outreach and programming.
Jasmehar Kochhar: Programming and strategy.
Lavanya Iyer: Robot construction and strategy.
All of them made it to team India after going through a rigorous selection process that involved four rounds of technical interviews. They were pitted against 20 teams vying for the prestigious spot to make it to team India.
Reducing The Gender Gap In STEM Education
Participation of girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is way below than that of boys. To address the huge gap that exists, these girls have taken up the initiative to create a world of confident and fearless girls to reduce the inequality in STEM.
To achieve that, the Geared-up Girls team has started conducting training and awareness programmes. They are also mentoring children with an emphasis on making STEM education and robotics more inclusive.
Recently, the Geared-up Girls team visited the Acorn Foundation at Dharavi where they interacted with some incredible girls at the locality. They had an insightful conversation about STEM, robotics and mathematics.
The girls are actively involved in teaching STEM to underprivileged students of Dharavi and hearing-impaired students of Sankalp. They are also raising funds to support an all-girls team to participate in the First Lego League.
The team is being mentored by Priti Patel, the team manager, and Meenal Majumdar, the outreach and awards mentor, Nilesh, the technical mentor, and Rohit Sekhsaria who has helped with funding and logistics.