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Inside the Robotics Team with Ana Hedberg

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The clock is ticking, the makers are building, and the only sound you hear is screaming. No more nails to bite from the stress and nervousness you have, now all you do is wait until the winner is announced. But have you ever noticed in robotic teams there are only boys? Well, the Academy of Our Lady of Peace robotic team has made history! Not only have they competed but they are the first ever all girl team in San Diego. I decided to ask a member from the robotics team in Academy of Our Lady of Peace, Anna Hedberg from the class of 2019, a few questions about their robotic team. She’s been in this team since her freshmen year and through hard work with her team, they’ve made a difference for women in STEM.

 

Q: How does it feel knowing all of you are the first ever all-female robotics team in San Diego?

A: I personally have mixed emotions over it. I’m proud to be part of such a great team full of young women in STEM, but I really feel like this should not be something to brag over. Women should have been recognized as a worthy addition to the engineering and technology fields long ago. Really, coming from an all-girls school, having an all-girls robotics team should not be so revolutionary. But here we are. Aside from that, I’m glad to be part of a movement that really challenges young women and girls to step up to the plate on when it comes to participating in STEM.

Q: What led you to join this team?

A: OLP’s Robotics team existed as a competing FTC (First Tech Challenge) team, which is a less intense competition, as the “Microchicks,” three years ago. I joined because I really enjoyed concepts of science and technology, and I had already been exposed to robotics, and loved it. After my second year on the team, however, things were changing. We gained a robotics class which really helped increase committment and membership.  With Dr. J as our new leader, we signed up to compete in FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition), which is a whole lot bigger and a whole lot tougher. We changed our name to a classier “The Pilots.” Basically, our team went through a huge overhaul.

 

Q: What did it feel like knowing your whole team was going to go to the 2018 First World Championship in Houston?

A: When we were sitting down during the awards ceremony at the San Diego Regional Competition, none of us expected to win the Rookie All-Star Award. Our robot had encountered some major challenges throughout the weekend, and although we modified and repaired it a lot, we were worried about our performance. However, the judges seemed to love our team. We had pitched to them our impressive yet difficult uprising as first-year competitors, showing off our team-designed hoodies, 3D design of our robot, and more. I like to think that it was our team’s charisma that pushed us to the top.

 

Q: How did you guys come up with the idea for your first ever robot? And why did you guys decide on that idea?

A: When the objective of the competition was unveiled, we immediately set out to brainstorm ideas for what tasks to go for, and what would be the most efficient design. After we found what we wanted to focus on, I spent hours at the computer with some of my teammates, designing and designing in our 3D CAD (Computer aided design) software until we had each part accounted for. After that, we still had to make changes according to our materials, failures in our design, and more. Many edits of our original design led to the Debbie we have today.

 

Q: If you could pick anytime from last year and this year, what has been your favorite memory so far and why?

A: My favorite memory from last year’s season had to be Dr. J’s inspiring pep talk. We were in Houston, and about to compete in a world level match. I remember he told us that all our hard work throughout the season had led up to this moment. This single phrase really hit me, because it was then that I realized, we didn’t make it to the FRC world championship by chance. It was by all our hard work that we made it there, and it was really our time to shine.

 

Even though this is Anna’s last year of being in the robotics team, she sure has made others want to join. What they created made a huge impact all over San Diego and at the Academy Of Our Lady of Peace. This is a special moment nobody for sure will ever forget! Young women are making history and this is not the last mark OLP girls will make.

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The student news site of the Academy of Our Lady of Peace
Inside the Robotics Team with Ana Hedberg