Girl Scouts Robotics Team Goes to Championships

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Photo courtesy Renee Heinrichs The area Girl Scouts team headed to the FIRST Tech Challenge world championships includes (in alphabetical order) Kemi Ashing-Giwa, Katelyn Biesiadecki, Maddie Braun, Breanna Chan, Britney Gallego, Desiree Gunnoe, Bella Heinrichs, Renee Heinrichs and Elizabeth Wu.
Photo courtesy Renee Heinrichs
The area Girl Scouts team headed to the FIRST Tech Challenge world championships includes (in alphabetical order) Kemi Ashing-Giwa, Katelyn Biesiadecki, Maddie Braun, Breanna Chan, Britney Gallego, Desiree Gunnoe, Bella Heinrichs, Renee Heinrichs and Elizabeth Wu.

A trio of La Cañada High School students are members of a Girl Scouts robotics team that’s headed to the FIRST Tech Challenge world championships in Houston from April 19-22.
Katelyn Biesiadecki, Maddie Braun and Breanna Chan are among the nine-member team of girls from 8-12th grade that recently finished third at the FIRST Tech Challenge West Super Regional in Tacoma, Wash.
The team built a robot — which they named Daisy — to compete in a game called, “Velocity Vortex,” which requires participating robots to launch Wiffle Balls into a structure called the “center vortex” and to lift a bigger yoga ball and drop it into the same structure. A member of the team controls the robot remotely via a gamepad, Biesiadecki said.
To get a machine to do all this, the team has spent 12 hours or more each week working on it in the “robot room” at Pasadena High School.
“I’m very excited that we made it all the way to the [championships],” Biesiadecki said. “Everyone has put in a lot of hours to get this far. There have been days when we’ve been at the robot room until 10 or 11 working on it, so it’s really gratifying to see that all of our hard work really paid off.”
Daisy got its — her? — name because its collection mechanism that picks up the balls looks like the pedals of a flower. The girls on the team extended the theme to other parts of their robot: They refer to the conveyor belt as the “stem” and the launcher as a “pollinator.”
In addition to the time dedicated to building and driving Daisy, the girls have participated in outreach efforts to “spread STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] to other people,” said Biesiadecki, of the squad’s work mentoring junior FIRST Lego League teams in the area.
Biesiadecki, a senior, said she’s noticed a growing number of girls teams participating in competitive robotics events.
“I think it’s really good to see that, to reverse some stereotypes that only boys can excel in things like science and math and engineering,” said Elizabeth Wu, a Temple City High School sophomore who serves as the team’s public relations captain. “It’s good that girls are given this opportunity to expand and excel in this too — it shows younger engineers and older engineers that we can do this too.”
Braun and Chan are both builders on the team and Biesiadecki is the team’s software captain. The other members include: Kemi Ashing-Giwa, Britney Gallego, Desiree Gunnoe, Renee Heinrichs, Bella Heinrichs and Wu.

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