November 27, 2013CAPAC — The female contingent of Capac's Metal & Soul robotics team demonstrated their knowledge and competitive nature the Nov. 16 "Girls Robotics Competition" at Bloomfield High School.
While the competition's rules were consistent with traditional team competitions, the event was unique in that "only girls were allowed to work on the robot and comprise the drive team," said Metal & Soul mentor Janet Antilla.
"Many girls are intimidated by the hands-on mechanical side of the program," Antilla said. "This event will help them step out of their comfort zone and really challenge themselves."
Sporting pink team shirts with 'Girls Drive FIRST' on the back, Antilla said the team members acquitted themselves admirably at the competition.
"The girls of Metal & Soul rose to the occasion," Antilla said, "alternating between drive team and pit crew duties and taking on each challenge as it presented itself."
As a result of the girls' early showing, the team was selected by two other teams, the #2 alliance Adambots and #469 Las Guerrillas, to compete with them in the competition's elimination rounds.
The female members of Metal and Soul's robotics team are making their mark in competitive robotics. As evidence, the team's nine girl members recently took home the top trophy in a 'girls only' competition.
The final elimination round ended with the #2 alliance undefeated and the winner of the 2013 Girls Robotics Competition.
"The team returned to school on Monday with some new hardware for their trophy case," said Antilla, "and a group of very confident girls eager to take on the 2014 FIRST Robotics Challenge, to be revealed on January 4, 2014."
Antilla pointed out that Metal & Soul's current total membership consists of 32-percent girls.
They include: Rose Antilla, Jacky DeMink, Samantha Rosati, Allison Hansen, Sage Senyk, Cheyann Salowitz and Kaitlyn Thompson.
"It was so much fun driving the robot," said DeMink. "Being in the stands and scouting is what I love to do, but it's a whole new world driving the robot."
Janet Antilla believes the future will provide ample opportunities for women with interest, talent and skills in science, mathmatics and technology.
"We're encouraging more girls to join the team," Antilla said. "The girls have been very proactive in other STEM activities countywide and statewide and are eager to learn new things."
For more information about team activities and competitions, or to assist the program through a donation, visit the website at: www.metalandsoul.org.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.