Luke Fitzgerald, Sage Peterson, Emma Xia, Kayla Kim, Andrew Kim and Kenny Chamberlain

Luke Fitzgerald, Sage Peterson, Emma Xia, Kayla Kim, Andrew Kim and Kenny Chamberlain of the Green Mountain Gears.

The Green Mountain Gears announced the launch of an all-girls FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team that plans to compete at this year’s 2020 Vermont FTC Championships.

While nearly 20,000 teams compete in the FTC across the globe, the Green Mountain Gears noticed girls were profoundly underrepresented among the competitors. Team member Luke Fitzgerald took the lead on mentoring the new team along with fellow teammate Andrew Kim. Both students have younger sisters and were concerned about opportunities for girls, so they chose to act.

The Gears took advantage of grants to cover the registration fees for both the FTC and the tournament. In addition, they donated materials such as robot controllers, motors, frame materials, hardware and tools, to help the girls add robotics into their schedules.

The team also designed a three-hour crash course in robotics and offered one-on-one instruction. Many of these tutorials are now online and available to FTC teams through the Green Mountain Gears website.

In developing this training, Fitzgerald provided mentoring in design and fabrication, Kim provided instruction in prototyping and fellow team member Kenny Chamberlain provided instruction in programming.

In short order, the new team took shape and includes Marina Prikis, Emma Xia, Kayla Kim and Sage Peterson.

The new team has several more practices before the championship, forming cooperative teams to compete against other teams of robots.

Last fall, the Green Mountain Gears also mentored an all-girls FIRST LEGO League team and provided mission models, supplies and mentoring in core values and programming.

For more information about FTC, robotics and Green Mountain Gears, contact Paul Fitzgerald at pkeenanfitzerald@gmail.com or visit www.tipsvt.org/FTC.

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