Revista WOS: Team Chile in the first places of the robotics contest FIRST Global Challenge

(Translated from Spanish)

A 100% female robotics team made up of 8 girls between the ages of 15 and 18 represent Chile in the annual robotics competition called the FIRST Global Challenge.

This year, due to the current world situation, the competition has been carried out online, carrying out various challenges in which it seeks to unify the STEM community (Acronym in English for: Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) around the world.

Currently the competition is ongoing and Team Chile is within the first places, specifically in second place just one point behind the first place.

What is the international FIRST Global Challenge competition?
FIRST Global is an annual Olympic robotics competition that unites and connects the world around a theme in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), in which competitors are able to perform and face different types of challenges. The competition is held every year in different countries, last year it was in Dubai, and this year due to the current global situation, the competition has been held online, carrying out various challenges in which it seeks to unify the STEM community .

How did they come to approach robotics?
Paula Carrión: «My first experience in robotics was at age 11 in a workshop where autonomous robots are programmed. At the end of that workshop there were competitions among the students, I was the smallest of all the participants, but even so I dared to participate in that competition, finishing second ».

Valentina Flores: «In my school there was a robotics workshop. I went in just because he was popular, and the truth was I had a hard time complying with him because I felt it was very difficult for me. But my mom insisted that I stay until the end of the year. And that’s when I learned more and was interested in even more difficult competitions.

How has FIRST Global influenced your STEM learning?
«Since I participated in FIRST Global I have had to adapt to work and learning schedules, I have learned a lot as I went along and it has motivated me to learn more, I learned how to use blender for animation, I did a lot of research on Arduino for another challenge and I keep learning more. Obvious apart from all that, I have learned to work as a team and all that this entails, something that used to cost me a lot”; Camila Acuña, a member of Team Chile, tells us.

What have been the biggest challenges you have had to face at FIRST Global?
«The biggest challenges come together with the challengers to complete, but what has always been controlled is reaching an agreement, communication is very important in these areas and more generally, I think it is the language barrier, the group that it has been generated with the participants is usually a lot of people speaking English, French, among other languages. The biggest challenges have been solved with communication and teamwork”; Catalina Pérez, a member of Team Chile, tells us.

What does it mean to you to be part of Team Chile?
«For me to be part of Team Chile is a great pride, to see every day how all my colleagues work hard and face each challenge to give their best, it is gratifying. I am very happy and proud to say that our team is 100% female and that each one of us is fighting to break down stereotypes and break the gender gap that exists in robotics and in the different STEM areas”; Brithanny Segovia, a member of Team Chile, tells us.

Do you think / believe that there are difficulties for women in the STEM world? If so, which ones?
Brithanny Segovia: «Of course, there are different difficulties that can stop a girl or woman from following steps in the different STEM areas. The first thing that can stop you are gender stereotypes, stereotypes that tell you that you are not capable just because you are a woman or stereotypes that masculinize certain things such as robotics. This must be stopped and that is why we are here, because we want to show that girls and women can also do robotics and can be as capable as they think possible.

Julieta Coloma: «Yes, of course, it has always been an area where the majority of people are men, so there were many prejudices towards those women who would have wanted to be part of the STEM area, many of them can be heard or seen today in day, however not as much as before.»