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IndyRAGE’s robotics competition at Perry Meridian High School Sept. 29 featured all-girl drive teams and pit crews. The event was designed to raise awareness of the importance of the roles that girls can play in engineering. The girls were exposed to all aspects of the competition – often call the varsity sport for the mind – and worked with professional female role models to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering and math fields.
RAGE is anacronym for Raising Awareness for Girls in Engineering. Perry Meridian's team, Cyber Blue, hosted the event, which attracted many teams, including Southport's Cyber Cards and Center Grove's Red Alert. Cyber Blue and its alliance and Red Alert and its alliance were knocked out in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. Cyber Cards and its alliance went on to win the competition, which was based on a video game.
“When we were planning the first IndyRAGE, I wasn’t really sure if the event would have that much of an impact on the girls,” said Julie Boyce, a mentor on Cyber Blue. “However, as I walked around and talked to the girls during the event, I found out just how engaged they were. They were excited to take control and not have their male teammates looking over their shoulders. Watching the girls take charge of the robots was awesome.
“When I asked if they would be interested in coming back next year, they all said, ‘Oh, Yeah, we will be here.’ ”
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Southport High School, 971 E. Banta Road, will host a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics CAGE match Saturday, Oct. 20. The event gives older team members the opportunity to train the younger students.
“The CyberCards are excited to be teaming with Red Alert,” said Mark Snodgrass, lead mentor for Team 1529 at Southport. Sharon Baxter, lead volunteer coordinator for the event, said building the robots and making them work is harder than it looks.
“Robotics has really taught me that I am capable of doing more than I had ever thought,” said Southport student Lawrence Spurlock. “I have most definitely come out of my shell and started to be a true leader.”
Qualification matches run from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. with eliminations from 3:15-5 p.m. There is also a silent auction.