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Girls of Steel Robotics
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  • FIRST Team 3504,The Girls of Steel, was started in the fall of 2010. The team welcomes any girl in the Pittsburgh area, regardless of financial status. Today the team is composed of 39 girls including 8th grade interns who want to experience a FIRST team before making the commitment as 9th graders. The girls on the team come from more than 20 schools and four educational options.
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  • About us

  • FIRST Team 3504,The Girls of Steel, was started in the fall of 2010. Initially, the team consisted of 24 girls from 12 different schools, and 4 different educational options. The team welcomes any girl in the Pittsburgh area, regardless of financial status.

    The team is fortunate and grateful to have the support of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the Field Robotics Center. CMU serves as a central location for all the girls, coming from over a 1000 square mile area, to learn and actively explore the field of robotics. The name “Girls of Steel” was decided through a team brainstorming session. It meshes perfectly with the central image of our logo–Rosie the Riveter with a robotic arm. Rosie was made during World War II, illustrating the power of women who took over jobs in factories (producing munitions, etc.) when the men went to war. “We Can Do It.” Rosie’s famous saying and the symbolism of female empowerment allow girls on the Girls of Steel team to feel that they are making a big contribution. In a male-dominated field, the Girls of Steel believe that it is crucial for women and girls feel respected as strong, hard workers. FIRST Team 3504′s rookie season was memorable. Going into the kickoff of the game “Logomotion,” no one had a solid idea of what the season would hold. Six weeks later, the team had completed a robot (Crush) and a minibot (Squirt).

    We won the Rookie All-Star Award at both the Pittsburgh and DC regional competitions! This award is the equivalent of the Chairman’s Award for rookies, and double-qualified the team to attend the World Championships in St. Louis. There, the girls competed against teams from all over the world and made lots of new friends. While in St. Louis, the team was also fortunate to go to a Black Eyed Pea’s concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of FIRST.

    2011-2012 marked the team’s 2nd year participating in FIRST. The team grew close to 60 girls from over 20 schools. As the season progressed, we were able to build a robot that successfully shot basketballs, pushed down a bridge, and balanced despite being top-heavy. We won the Engineering Inspiration Award, Website Award, Dean’s List Finalist Award, Innovation and Control Award and our mentors won the Volunteer of the Year Award! The Engineering Inspiration Award qualified us to travel once again to World Championships in St. Louis. There we one again competed against a variety of teams from all around the world and we had a lot of fun doing it!

    The 2012-2013 season was the Girls of Steel’s third year as an FRC team. Our robot, Eve, is able to successfully shoot discs and climb to the first rung of the pyramid. This year we decided to only participate in one regional. At the Pittsburgh Regional we won the Dean’s List Finalist Award. Our team was also lucky enough to once again receive the Engineering Inspiration Award that qualified us to travel to the World Championships in St. Louis. At St. Louis, our Dean’s List Finalist became one of the ten Dean’s List Winners! We were very excited and happy.

    The 2013-2014 season is our fourth year as as an FRC team. After finishing 12 preseason training meetings, we are ready for kickoff. We can’t wait to see what we will encounter and accomplish as our year progresses!
  • Our Mission

  • FIRST Robotics Team #3504: We, the Girls of Steel, are more than just a robotics team. Our mission goes past building a robot for competition; We work hard to give girls the skills that will last far beyond their high-school years.

    Mission Statement:
    To find success in the empowerment of girls through well-developed skills in STEM.


    Our team started in 2011 with a bang! We won two Rookie All Star Awards at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) regional competitions in Pittsburgh and Washington D.C., which qualified us for World Championships in St. Louis that year. Surprisingly, our robot placed as second highest rookie team in our division, catching the attention of media, business professionals, and companies alike.

    During our team’s sophomore year, we worked on expanding our team’s presence in Pittsburgh. We tripled the number of students on our FIRST team, giving even more girls access to the fantastic learning environment at Carnegie Mellon University.

    We have made it our mission to not only build great robots, but also to support women and children’s involvement in STEM (Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology) fields. Pittsburgh was once known as the “Steel City”, which has inspired the Girls of Steel to become a strong, determined, and bold team. We are a notable presence in our community and here to stay for years to come. We want to provide a place where the girls and women of our communities will be encouraged to think both technically and creatively. Regardless of finances or distance, FIRST Team #3504 accepts any girl who proves herself dedicated to FIRST robotics.

    We endeavor to not only inspire our peers and younger students as we have been inspired, but we also work towards bringing the message of FIRST back to our local communities through service projects, assemblies, demonstrations, and other opportunities. FIRST‘s mission is our mission, and we can make the world a better place.
  • Resources

      • Practice Field

      • The 2014 Practice Field is open! We are now located in the Strip District! There is more information in our flyer.

        In 2012 and 2013, we were able to build a full scale practice field. The practice field was open to all 30 teams in our region and provided tools, safety, mentors, and snacks. Each year we strive to offer a space for teams not only a place to practice, but also a forum for collaborating and solving challenges. On the final Saturday before Bag and Tag, we hosted a “Week Zero” event that seven FRC team participated in. Activities included a mock FIRST competition, complete with FIRST officials.
      • AFRON Project

      • The Girls of Steel are partnering with the African-Robotics Network (AFRON). AFRON is an online community of teachers and professors who are working to inspire students in the field of robotics. We will be posting educational tools periodically for the students across Africa.
  • What Is FIRST?

  • FIRST was founded 1989 by Dean Kamen, an inventor, and an entrepreneur. It was founded with the intention of inspiring young people’s interest and participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The first FIRST competition was in 1992 with 28 teams competing in a high-school gym in New Hampshire. Now over 250,000 students compete all over the world.

    Vision And Mission
    As said by Dean Kamen, the vision of FIRST is “to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.” FIRST inspires kids to look up to scientists and mathmaticians as they would movie stars and famous athletes. FIRST is sometimes referred to as the “Superbowl of the Smarts” or “a sport for the mind.” Many people are confused about how robotics can be compared to sports. They’re more similar than you might think. FIRST’s “Build Season” can be compared to a varsity sport’s season. Teams work rigorously for many hours each day preparing for competitions. The competition atmosphere is similar to that of a sporting event. Teams compete against each other while fans watch on from the bleachers. The biggest difference between FIRST and sports, is that robots are actually competing, rather than humans.
    FIRST’s mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

    Gracious Professionalism And Coopertition
    “Gracious Professionalism” is a term that was coined by Dr. Woodie Flowers. Someone who is a “gracious professional” competes and wants to win, but treats others with respect in the process. It is described as a comfortable blend of knowledge, competition, and empathy. Coopertition is “displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.” Teams should help and respect each other, even as competitors.

    FIRST has programs for all ages. There are two FIRST lego leagues, a FIRST tech challenge, and the FIRST robotics competitions. All of these competitions teach kids the values of FIRST.

    Impact Of FIRST
    Recently, a study was done at Brandeis University that showed the FIRST students are:

    • More than 3 times as likely to major in engineering.
    • Roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year.
    • Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree.
    • More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology.
    • Nearly 4 times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering.
    • More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.