JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — Twelve high school girls from the Triangle are expanding their horizons and challenging the norm as they break into the STEM field at an early age.
What You Need To Know
G-Force is an all-girls robotics team based in Johnston County
It pairs girls with mentors and coaches in the industry who teach them about engineering, computer science and mechanics
The team is building a robot that will hopefully bring home the win for them in competitions
Killer robot may not be quite the right idea, but this “bot” is designed to win, and its engineers are a dozen unassuming high school girls. The girls and their robot Electra will be facing their first challenger at their first off-season competition in Chapel Hill this month.
“Our team is super unique in the fact that it's breaking the mold, and it's also showing that girls can excel at anything that boys can excel at,” Kaitlyn Nolte, a member of G-Force, said.
G-Force is a robotics team specifically for high school girls interested in learning more about several fields that are traditionally male-dominated like engineering and computer science. This is just one of three girls robotics teams in the entire state of North Carolina.
“I love that I can still be girly, and I can be super into robotics,” Nolte said. “It's my No. 1 passion, and it's something I want to turn into a career field.”
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that women make up just 26% of computer scientists and only 15% of engineers. “Battlebots” competitor and mechanical design engineer Craig Danby, who is a mentor for the girls, said STEM fields should be open to anyone who is passionate and willing to put in the work.
“There will be a group of boys in the audience around the same age as them, and they'll look at the robots and think, 'Oh, I built that, mentor Craig built that.' No, no, they built that,” Danby said. “That kind of attitude, you can see it kind of seeping into the younger kids, and it comes from somewhere and it mostly comes from the idea that girls can't do this sort of thing, and that is absolutely not true.”
G-Force has had more interest in the team than they ever expected, but there's only so many girls they can fit in a garage workshop. Their team organizer said the goal would be to eventually have their own dedicated workspace.
“The great engineers all start in garages building stuff out of what they have,” Danby said. “I will help these girls — push these girls — into anything STEM they want to do.”