Middle School Girls Build Their First Robot


USC Viterbi is excited to engage young girls in computer science and robotics through a number of STEM outreach programs, including a VEX Robotics team at St. Odilia School. After just six short weeks, the nascent team has completed its first VEX robot, called the Clawbot. The all-female team, comprised of 6th and 7th graders -- Diamond, Annalie, Ramira, and Fatima -- began the semester with no VEX experience, but were able to use the engineering design process and troubleshooting process in order to build and program the Clawbot. With the help of a volunteer from USC Viterbi STEM Educational Outreach Programs (STEM-EOP), the girls learned about different robot subsystems, such as the drivetrain, arm, and intake, and assembled them from steel parts. Then, the team completed the electrical wiring of the robot and programmed the controller in ROBOTC to engage driver control and autonomous systems. By their last practice, they could maneuver the Clawbot to drive around, pick up, and stack small cones utilizing the robot’s mechanical claw.

St. Odilia’s VEX Robotics Team hopes to improve the Clawbot’s design and build by the end of the school year, making it stronger and faster while getting more driving practice. In the fall, the members plan to compete in Los Angeles regional VEX competitions against local middle and high schools.

USC Viterbi is committed to developing young students’ passions for engineering through initiatives such as STEM-EOP, VEX Robotics and the Bringing Opportunities to Teachers in Schools (BOTS) program, using research results to inspire students, families, and teachers through the creativity and social benefits of STEM learning. By establishing a foundation of excitement and curiosity early on, students will be more passionate and open-minded later in their careers when they may decide to pursue a STEM field or degree.

Published on March 27th, 2018

Last updated on May 22nd, 2018