Orinda All-Girl Robotics Team on Their Way to Finals Competition

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(Courtesy of Roxanne Christophe)
Team Stampede, the Orinda all-girl robotics team, is on their way to the Northern California First Lego League robotics finals. From top left, Sophie Davis, Alexia Gkatzimas, Grace Kosla, Trisha Madannavar, Lina Parikh and Lauren Stuffmann.

    Team Stampede, the all-girl robotics team from Orinda, who won the award for “Best Robot Design” at the FIRST® LEGO® League robotics tournament held on Feb. 13, competed in the Northern RePlay California Championships on March 14. Although they did not go on to the summer championship, Team Stampede members thoroughly enjoyed the competition.
    “Being a rookie team, they were fascinated by the innovation and the advanced capabilities of the more seasoned teams,” said team coach Deepa Bangalore. “The team is very proud of their showing at the championships, which included improving their robot design, conducting interviews with industry experts and dramatically increasing their technical scores. With their confidence high, they look forward to completing again next year.”
    Fifth grade Wagner Ranch Elementary students – Sophie Davis, Alexia Gkatzimas, Grace Kosla, Trisha Madannavar, Lina Parikh and Lauren Stuffmann – comprise the team. Participants spent the past year designing and preparing their 
robot.
    FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge introduces science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to children ages 9-16 through fun, exciting hands-on learning. Participants gain real-world problem-solving experience through a guided, global robotics program. The program is designed to inspire participants to experiment and grow critical thinking, coding and design skills through hands-on STEM learning and robotics.
    According to UNESCO, only around 30% of all female students select STEM-related subjects in higher education with robotics engineering being a male dominated field. The girls say they are thankful to Elise Chang of Miramonte High School who was instrumental in helping launch Team Stampede last year to challenge such statistics.
    For more information about forming a robotics team, email Christine Gkatzimas at cgkatzimas@yahoo.com.
    For more information on FIRST® LEGO® League, visit www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll.

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