FIRST Team 3504, The Girls of Steel, was founded in the fall of 2010 at Carnegie Mellon University. Initially, the team consisted of 24 girls from 12 different schools, and 4 different educational options. The team welcomes applications from girls in the greater Pittsburgh area, regardless of financial status.
The team is fortunate and grateful to have the support of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the Field Robotics Center. CMU serves as a central location for all the girls, coming from over a 600 square mile area, to learn and actively explore the field of robotics.
The name “Girls of Steel” was decided through a team brainstorming session. It meshes perfectly with the central image of our logo–Rosie the Riveter with a robotic arm. Rosie was made during World War II, illustrating the power of women who took over jobs in factories (producing munitions, etc.) when the men went to war.
“We Can Do It.” Rosie’s famous saying and the symbolism of female empowerment allow girls on the Girls of Steel team to feel that they are making a big contribution. In a male-dominated field, the Girls of Steel believe that it is crucial for women and girls feel respected as strong, hard workers.
FIRST Team 3504′s rookie season was memorable. Going into the kickoff of the game “Logomotion,” no one had a solid idea of what the season would hold. Six weeks later, the team had completed a robot (Crush) and a minibot (Squirt).
We won the Rookie All-Star Award at both the Pittsburgh and DC regional competitions! This award is the equivalent of the Chairman’s Award for rookies, and double-qualified the team to attend the World Championships in St. Louis. There, the girls competed against teams from all over the world and made lots of new friends. While in St. Louis, the team was also fortunate to go to a Black Eyed Pea’s concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of FIRST.
2011-2012 marked the team’s 2nd year participating in FIRST. The team grew close to 60 girls from over 20 schools. As the season progressed, we were able to build a robot that successfully shot basketballs, pushed down a bridge, and balanced despite being top-heavy. We received the Engineering Inspiration Award, Website Award, Dean’s List Finalist Award, Innovation and Control Award and our mentors won the Volunteer of the Year Award! The Engineering Inspiration Award qualified us to travel once again to World Championships in St. Louis. There we once again competed against a variety of teams from all around the world and we had a lot of fun doing it!
The 2012-2013 season was the Girls of Steel’s third year as an FRC team. Our robot, Eve, was able to successfully shoot discs and climb to the first rung of the pyramid. This year we decided to only participate in one regional. At the Pittsburgh Regional we received a Dean’s List Finalist Award. Our team was also lucky enough to once again receive the Engineering Inspiration Award that qualified us to travel to the World Championships in St. Louis. At St. Louis, our Dean’s List Finalist became one of the ten Dean’s List Winners! We were very excited and happy.
The 2013-2014 season was our fourth year as an FRC team. We founded two FLL teams and established the junior team member program. After finishing 12 preseason training meetings our 39 girls (includes 4 8th grade junior members) were prepared for kickoff on January 4, 2014. During the following 6 weeks we built our robot – Atlas – to compete in Aerial Assist. Atlas was able to collect balls, pass them, and score in the low goal. We competed at the Buckeye Regional Competition in Cleveland OH where we received the Entrepreneurship Award and the Engineering Inspiration Award. The Engineering Inspiration Award qualified us to travel once again to World Championships in St. Louis. At the Greater Pittsburgh Regional Competition we received the Entrepreneurship Award and we were thrilled when two team members received the Dean’s List Finalist Awards. We were very excited to attend the 2014 FIRST World Championship competition in St. Louis. At St. Louis, our Dean’s List Finalist became one of the ten Dean’s List Winners! We were very excited and happy.
We began the 2014-2015 season, our 5th year as a team, with an orientation meeting for all new girls on September 23, 2014. Regular preseason meetings (12 weekly meetings) began on September 30th. With a growing junior member program, we began the season with 21 returning girls, 18 new girls, and 18 junior members. We finished the 2015 build season with the Bag & Tag of Ada on February 17, 2015. While Ada was in the bag, Bada was used for drive team practice and testing by the programming team.
We competed at the Greater Pittsburgh Regional and ranked 26/54 and at the Buckeye Regional we ranked 47/56. We were honored to receive the 2015 Buckeye Regional Chairman’s Award which qualified us to compete once again at the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis. We competed well at Championships ranking 45/76, and we received the Curie-Carver Entrepreneurship Award sponsored by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as well as the Media and Technology Innovation Award sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal.
In addition, our FLL program consisted of 18 students on two teams that competed in the 2014 World Class challenge: FLL 2641, “Bricks, Sweat, and Gears”, and FLL 4212, “FIRST LEGO Legends.” Our 2014 FLL Jr. program began at the Winchester Thurston Lower School in February. We worked with twelve 2nd and 3rd grade girls on the 2014 Think Tank challenge: FLL Jr 2397, “The Interesting Team” and FLL Jr 3813, “The Six Awesome 3rd Graders.”
The 2015-2016 season was our 6th year as a team. We started the season with 50 high school girls and 17 8th graders. This year the 8th grade junior members are learning about the new FIRST Tech Challenge system and will build robots using Tetrix robotics kits. We held 11 preseason meetings scheduled between October 6th and December 15th. The FLL program consisted of 20 children on 3 teams: 2641, 4212, and 18137, meeting weekly on Thursday and Saturday to prepare for for the 2015 challenge Trash Trek.
We competed at the Greater Pittsburgh Regional at California University of PA and the Queen City Regional at Xavier University in Cincinnati. We were honored to receive the Entrepreneurship Award at Pittsburgh and the Engineering Inspiration Award at Queen City, qualifying us to compete at World Championships in St. Louis.
The seventh season, 2016-2017, for the Girls of Steel began on September 27th with an orientation for all new girls – girls new to teams – FRC 3504 and FTC 9820. We began the season with 52 FRC girls and 17 FTC girls. Our FLL program of 3 teams, 2641, 4212, and 18137 began with 24 boys and girls in grades 4 to 8. The FLL teams meet every Saturday from 12 to 4 pm at the CMU/Girls of Steel Robotics Practice Field at NREC.
We competed at the Greater Pittsburgh Regional at California University of PA and the Buckeye Regional at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University in Cleveland OH. We were honored to receive the Engineering Inspiration Award at Pittsburgh, qualifying us to compete at World Championships in St. Louis. We were thrilled that our mentor, George, received the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award at the Pittsburgh Regional.