We are an all-girls robotics team from St. Francis High School in Sacramento, CA. Our team was founded in 2000 by a Physics teacher, Mr. Glasser, who encouraged us to participate in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. Our mission is to nurture our curiosity of science and technology, develop new and lifelong skills, create lasting friendships, have fun, and inspire others in our community and around the world to do the same.
There's More than Meets the Eye
There is more to the Fembots than just building a robot. We also engage in CAD, design, field build, fundraising, web design, programming, newsletter, safety, and community service. If engineering or computer programming is not your passion in life, no problem! There are many other areas of the team you can participate in. FIRST has found ways to tie everything together.
Robotics teaches us many things in addition to building a robot. It is almost like working in the workplace, giving you key knowledge for future circumstance. Teams are put under time constraints, limited budgets, and are given only a basic kit of parts to build the robot with. Participants in FIRST must learn time management, and utilize team communication skills in order to succeed. Building a robot is a great challenge, but we have fun in the process. With our teammates alongside us, we can learn together, and teach each other every step of the way!
Why We are Unique
What's so special about the Fembots?
We are one of a few all-girls robotics teams in the nation. Because robotics is a male-dominant area of science and technology, we strive to work even harder to prove that we can do just as well as any other team out there. With our bold pink colors, teams easily recognize The Fembots on the playing field.
To really show that we are girls in robotics, we decided to chose a color that really pops out at people and says, "Hey look at us, we're women who can compete just as well!" Our unique team structure of all female students provides a chance for women to become leaders in our team and in the community, and also to represent a STEM area that is still women underrepresented, but is continuing to evolve.
Within our team of 27 students are subteams who work on specific portions of the robotics competition during the season.
Our team is divided into three main subteams for throughout the year:
Build: These Fembots design, weld, and build the season's robot, using heavy equipment in our Machine Shop to manipulate metal and plastic into our robot's superstructure and chassis.
Electronics: These Fembots wire the robot and provide connection for the various controllers, motors, and components necessary for the robot's functions and design.
Programming: These Fembots program the robot's electronics in order to complete the season's challenge, working in-depth with the robot's design and the various components of the robot in order to make the robot move.
The Fembots also work on four subteams before and after Build Season, with a mild focus during Build Season:
Business: These Fembots provide the team with money that they bring in through their sponsorship presentations, and also manage the website, provide an entrepreneurial face, promote The Fembots inside and outside of our community, and work on overall team structure.
CAD: These Fembots electronically create designs for the robot from structure to electronics in Solidworks, and also provide 3D Printing designs for plastic components of the robot.
Field Build: These Fembots build the season's practice field for the Drive Team to practice on, using dimensions provided by FIRST to create a full-size field out of wood and plastic.
Safety: These Fembots keep stock of the medical supplies and enforce safety precautions on the team.
Leading The Fembots are designated co-captains who work side-by-side with the coaches and mentors to ensure a stable and productive robotics team experience.
Challenges We Overcome Each Year
As an all-girls robotics team feeding students only from our all-girls high school, we experience a range of challenges that stem from a lack of awareness of our team.
Because of the liberal arts nature of our school, our team members are involved in the many opportunities and activities that our school offers. Team members also play sports, perform in plays and concerts, and participate in the multitude of other school clubs. Most importantly, they are committed to their studies. It takes combined efforts of team members, coaches, teachers, and parents to make it all work and ensure proper team member participation and involvement.
A secondary challenge we face is the traditional role women play in today's society. As women, we are not normally viewed as scientists, engineers, or technology experts, but this is one of the many reasons why The Fembots exist -- to face these issues directly in our community and jump over these hurdles. We are here to change this typical stereotype, especially since we belong to a school that educates over 1,000 young ladies each year, and we strive to grow our team in size and knowledge.
Within our team itself, we also face challenges with the balancing of the student to mentor ratio, communication issues within our team, and other team structural nuances. Every year, we wish to grow to become a better team than the year before, and we apply the lessons that we've learned from the years past in order to avoid a vicious cycle of failure. Since facing these challenges, The Fembots hope to grow with the support of our school, St. Francis High School, and also with the support of a strong leadership of gracious parents and mentors, and the tremendous work students put into evolving the team.
We appreciate St. Francis High School's generosity for giving us four rooms inside the school's Armory facility, which are used for classroom meetings, where all students congregate and socialize with food and activities, a build and electronics room for robot design and wiring, a machine shop for heavy equipment, and a storage room for past robots and any scrap metal. We work in the Armory in conjunction with the basketball teams and other sports team.
So come join us in changing society's views of women, and changing the world!