Competing With an Iron Will


Elton Moy

Kang Hwu Yie ’19 helps out with the construction of the robot.

The Bronx Science FeMaidens and SciBorgs are starting this year’s competition season with the two competitions run by FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in Hudson Valley, an international high school competition in which teams build robots that can play games, and one in New York City. For this year’s tournament, the Bronx Science team has built an exciting new robot that can pick up various objects, place them on different structures, and climb onto a platform.

This season can be a pretty stressful time as a lot of work goes into building the robots. However, the team could not wait to show off their robot and start competing! “To me, competition is where all the hard work and literal blood, sweat, and tears pay off,” said Akaneh Wang ’20, who works in the engineering department for the FeMaidens. “It’s honestly one of the best feelings to see something you built go so far and succeed.”

Wang wasn’t alone in this sentiment. “It was amazing to just look at our robot working and be like ‘wow, we made that,’” said Megan Groppe ’20, in the PR and construction departments. The rest of the team was also optimistic about the competition. Alexandra Deli Ivanov ’20, the Director of Lab Operations (DOLO), said that she’s “looking forward to winning! I think this is certainly a possibility.”

Artea Brahaj
Clara Yu ’19 drills holes into a piece of wood, as gets ready for competition.

At the FRC tournament, the Rocketeers of Clifton Park were top ranked, followed by the RoboTigers from Queens, while both the Sciborgs and the Iron Maidens got to quarterfinals, with the Iron Maidens winning the team spirit award. In the New York City tournament, the Sciborgs ranked #12 for individual robots and made it to finals with the #2 alliance, winning the team spirit award there. The Iron Maidens won finals with the #1 alliance, winning regionals.

“There’s nothing better than spending three days with the robotics gals and rocking out at competition. The team is a really supportive community, and to me, it’s also like a family.” said Alexandra Deli Ivanov ’20.

So while Bronx Science did not win any of the top rankings for individual robots, they did make a really great effort and were ranked with top alliances. “I’m extremely proud of how we did. Even though we did not rank very high, we still built a solid robot and had a lot of close matches that we did well in. I know that we can do even better at our next one,” said Groppe, after hearing the results of the competition.

At the end of the day, having an amazing team helps make the competition what it is. Ivanov thinks of competition season as being the best time of the year.  The mentors are amazing too – they are always willing to help and point out problems that I previously didn’t even think about,” said Wang with a similar sentiment. Without the amazing team, competition season would not be nearly as exciting and motivating as it is for the girls.

Sazida Marzia
Lily O’Sullivan ’20 (left) and Annabelle Lew ’20 (right), plan out construction of their robot.

For any incoming FeMaidens, the girls have lots of tips for making the most out of robotics. Most of the girls just recommend being yourself and being passionate.“For anyone who wants to try out,” Groppe said, “just be yourself!” “Always plan ahead and always question,” Wang said, “‘Is there another, better way to do this?’”

Robotics is no doubt time consuming. “[It will] teach you time management for sure,” said Ivanov, “but it’s 100% worth it. During competition and even just at the end of build season, you are proud of your team and the product you were able to make together.”

So for anyone with any degree of interest in robotics, sign up and be part of the amazing community that comes with it!