Local Girls Encourage The Next Generation

Members of G-Force Robotics, a high school robotics team, are joined by their mentors from Caterpillar and Novo Nordisk and elementary and middle school girls from across Johnston County for National Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on Feb. 25, 2023. Contributed Photo

CLAYTON – At the end of February during National Engineers Week is a day that one local team finds extra special. G-Force Robotics, a high school robotics team and SWENext club (Society of Women Engineers) located in Clayton, N.C., celebrated National Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023 by inviting local elementary and middle school girls to their build space to showcase how engineering principles are a major part of their FIRST Robotics Competition team.

Ten young girls from Neuse Charter, Pine Level Elementary, River Dell Elementary, Archer’s Lodge Middle, Cleveland Middle, North Johnston Middle, American Leadership Academy and the homeschooling community joined the girls of G-Force to learn about their present season’s robot, and to learn a little about the tools and design functions they use to build their robots.

Jhenelle Ebanks, a 6 th grader at North Johnston Middle School, works to remove a bolt from a robotics mechanism, while in the background Gabriella Ray from Pine Level Elementary and Claire Fendrick, a member of G-Force, discuss the other parts of the robot. Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (Girl Day) helps focus a growing movement to inspire girls’ futures so they learn they have a place in engineering a better world. Contributed Photo

“They helped us take off our old shooter mechanism, basically hex collars and motors,” said Shelby Anderson, mechanical team for G-Force. “They used allen wrenches and screwdrivers to help us take it apart. Most had never used these tools before so it was a good introduction.”

The team was joined by two of their female mentors who are both engineers. Kendra Gregg, a design engineer with Caterpillar, and Callie Daniel, a process engineer with Novo Nordisk, were on-hand to help and talk about their careers.

Daniel stressed the fact that the girls should always ask questions telling them that there are no bad questions and it is always important to seek answers. “If we influenced one girl today that is worth it,” said Daniel. “That one girl could have a career in engineering because of meeting these other girls who are also interested in engineering, robots and overall STEM topics.”

Taylor Dukeman (right) and Autumn Conrad (left) work on a battery at G-Force Robotics build space on Feb. 25, 2023. The two Neuse Charter students are both interested in STEM and engineering. Contributed Photo

G-Force started last year and has been busy influencing younger students through several STEM-aimed outreach programs, and through volunteer service in their community. More recently they have been preparing for their first district robotics competition which will be held in Wake County at Rolesville High School on March 11-12, 2023.

“It was important for us to host this because it is the mission of our team to encourage and inspire more young girls in STEM,” said Kaitlyn Nolte. 10 th grader at Johnston County Early College Academy and programmer for G-Force Robotics. “This was first step of exposing and engaging them in robotics so that hopefully they pursue it further one day.”

Learn more about G-Force Robotics at: https://gforcerobotics.com/