G-Force Robotics, the first high school all-girls robotics team in Johnston County, is making a positive impact within the Clayton community. The team of 12 young women is the largest all-girls robotics team in North Carolina. While hard at work coding, building, and preparing for upcoming robotics competitions, the team has still found time to volunteer over 500 hours within Clayton and surrounding communities.
Within the world of robotics, less than two percent of teams are all-female. Due to the scarcity of opportunities for young girls within this field, many local girls were eager to join G-Force. The team completely filled its roster in two months.
G-Force is affiliated with FIRST North Carolina, a non-profit organization based in Manchester, NH. FIRST’s mission is to provide exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills while inspiring self-confidence and leadership. Recently, Clayton was chosen as one of the four FIRST NC Competition sites from across the state, and G-Force Robotics will partner with Clayton High School and the Clayton Chamber of Commerce to host this event. FIRST’s motto is More than Robots, and G-Force has fully embraced this philanthropic approach.
“We believe in sharing our knowledge and passion for STEM with others and giving back to our community. We have been hard at work doing just that,” said Krista Vera, senior at Clayton High School and Robotics Lead for Clayton High School’s Computer Science Club.
Since the team formed in April, they have worked alongside community leaders to support various programs. Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library is a proud supporter of G-Force Robotics. Library Director, Joy Garrettson, has worked alongside the team to raise awareness and funding for the G-Force Robotics Girl's Teach Tech classes that happen throughout the year.
“Libraries are often a place where people come to experience technologies that they might not be able to access without our resources. The library allocated funding for G-Force Robotics programming within its 2022 - 2023 budget, which allows the team to host classes, events, and workshops at Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library all year long. This past July, the girls hosted a program with Craig Danby from Discovery Channel’s BattleBots, and they had an audience of over 40 people come to watch their robot demonstration,” said Garrettson. “We are so excited to partner with G-Force Robotics. This is a fantastic opportunity to introduce more children to STEM literacy at the library.”
Other G-Force Robotics community service initiatives include assisting Johnston County Flags for Heroes and hosting a Women in STEM panel luncheon. They also collaborated with the Woman’s Club of Clayton, the Society of Women Engineers, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works female engineers, and the Orion Spacecraft Project to sign and donate books to Clayton and Kenly libraries. On a national level, team members Sloan Mann and Kaitlyn Nolte traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the National STEM Advocacy Conference in late June. While there, the girls spoke to North Carolina legislators on Capitol Hill about the importance of STEM education and programs and encouraged them to increase funding for STEM programs that benefit underserved and underrepresented populations.
In the coming months, the team will focus on refining and enhancing their robot as they prepare to compete in an off-season competition on Oct. 16 in Chapel Hill.
“We have the goal of being a highly competitive, world-class team before we all graduate in a few years. We know this takes determination, dedication, focus, and skills, but it also takes a community that supports us,” said team member Sloan Mann.
G-Force Robotics has allowed these young women to combine their interest in STEM with leadership and community service.
More information about G-Force Robotics can be found on their website.