First All-Girls Team Will Represent India In Global Robotics Championship To Stop Pollution

Ever year, the FIRST Global challenge gathers talented students from around the world, tasking them with solving global crises using robotics.

Now, the Indian team going to the Robot Olympics will, for the first time, see an all-girl team representing the country.

The team this time around consists of five members, as well as their manager and mentor accompanying them. They’ll be in Dubai, participating in the challenge between October 24 – 27.

– Aarushi Shah works on robot design, construction and electricals in the team.

– Radhika Sekhsaria is responsible for fundraising and programming.

– Aayushi Nainan’s primary focus is on outreach and programming.

– Jasmehar Kochhar focuses on programming and strategizing.

– Lavanya Iyeris responsible for robot construction and strategy.

All five are teenagers with a passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), calling themselves the Geared-Up Girls. These Mumbai-based girls will be competing against about 2,000 other students between the ages of 14 to 18, from 193 countries. And this year, the theme for the First Global Challenge is “ocean opportunities”, which focuses on dealing with harmful ocean pollution that negatively impacts marine life and global populations.

Basically, the teams will have to figure out a way to apply their passion for robotics to build creations that can help deal with ocean pollution.

The fact these teenagers have made it to the final stage of such a massive competition is enough for anyone to be proud. But they have another goal as well. The girls are passionate about STEM, and hope to address the diminished gender ratio in STEM courses in India by raising awareness. To that end, they’ve taken to conducting training programs and awareness camps, and have also been working with underprivileged girls to show them the amazing thins they can be capable of.

The girls say they want to make STEM education and robotics more inclusive, so they’ve been touring schools to display the robot they’ve built for the competition, among other events. The most recent appearance they made was at the Acorn Foundation in Dharavi where they interacted with some of the lower-income girls living in the slum, talking to them about science and math.

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