Women in STEM: The Robettes

Women in STEM: The Robettes

Kate Heinsch, Staff Writer

Aside from sports, Visitation students have the opportunity to participate in and support a variety of activities. One of Vis’s most notable activities is the robotics team, the Robettes. Also known as Team 2177, they participate in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics league. The team is the first all-girls team in the state and one of the most successful.

The Robettes often make it to regional or state competitions, but also consistently win many of FIRST’s other awards for professionalism, safety, and engineering inspiration, along with honors from the league and judges. In recent years, the team has even participated in world championships. 

Since September, the Robettes have spent their time building, programming, and marketing their own robot. Each year’s FIRST competition consists of designing a robot to complete a specific task following the year’s chosen theme. The tasks, which can include launching balls, climbing a rope, or moving specific objects, require complex machinery and programming designed entirely by the team. This year’s theme, Full Speed Ahead, focuses on transportation. 

The Robettes’ mission statement is to “work to inspire girls of all ages to incorporate STEM into their daily lives and to revolutionize the perception of women in STEM”. Along with their work on the robot, the Robettes have hosted numerous workshops and events for girls in FIRST, along with robot demonstrations, shop tours, and networking opportunities. 

The kickoff for the 2022 season is Saturday, January 8, where the team will learn this year’s challenge and begin building their robot. Competitions will span from March to April, taking place in a range of Minnesota locations such as Duluth and Minneapolis. Vis students are welcome to support the team by attending these competitions or watching a live stream of the competition.