Meet the All-Girls Competitive Robotics Team from The Bronx
Watch the St. Catharine Comets go all out trying to make nationals at the largest robotics contest – with their best shot at college scholarships and lucrative STEM careers on the line.
Photo & video by Taylor Hess
Robot 9717A zips around the competition pit, burrowing into corners and sneaking behind larger bots to hunt yellow foam stars and orange cloth cubes. Nicknamed “Cobra” for its claw-like apparatus designed to lunge out during matches, grabbing at the stars and cubes, it stands out not only for its lithe design in a pack of chunky square robots, but also for who made it: the St. Catharine Comets, a group of scrappy teenagers from the St. Catharine’s Academy in the northeast Bronx and one of the few all-girls robotics teams on the competitive high school circuit in New York State.
Competitive robotics is gaining widespread attention as a gateway into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. Despite a national and local push to bring high-level science and technology training to as many high school students as possible, girls — and low income and minority girls in particular — are still wildly underrepresented. In 2011, only eleven percent of t…