From Recruitment to Competition: Our Female-focused Offseason Event Experience

Founded in 2008, 2826 Wave Robotics is a community team built for all. With 25% of students identified as female in the 2022-23 season, we hoped to increase this. To promote female engagement on our team, Wave has focused on female recruitment during the 2023 offseason. 

In the summer, our team designed a set of goals for the upcoming season. With an emphasis on rookie engagement and furthering student skill-sets, we focused on recruitment while ensuring all students were trained and ready for the 2024 Crescendo game. We began this journey by designing an offseason robot. Inspired by FRC team 1923 the MidKnight Inventors, we built a cube shooting robot. From concept to reality in less than two months, all team members were involved in this process. The programming team for this project consisted of 100% female students. Through this process, these students learned presets and autonomous coding, aiding a successful two cube auto.

In correspondence with this project, we designed extensive recruitment events throughout our community. As a community team reaching students across a 180+ square mile radius, it was crucial to a widespread plan, reaching students to our fullest abilities. By attending numerous markets, open houses, and camps, we were able to double the size of our team, with our team’s female percentage increasing by nearly 15% from the previous season. With new interest, our team knew we needed to engage these students through exciting events. We decided to attend the TWIST (Together Women in STEM Thrive) Offseaon event hosted by FRC team 6421 WarriorBots. To prepare for this event, we created a one-on-one working environment. Our girls learned the essential pit skills and received a combined 30+ hours in drive-team practice and training. 

On October 14th, we traveled to Muskego, Wisconsin to compete with 17 other teams. Beginning the day, we missed the practice matches as we were busy working to ensure our robot was ready for the day. We began our first match with a rocky start due to the RoboRio having connection issues with the FMS, leaving us unable to move. After working with the FTA, we were diligently able to get this issue resolved. Throughout the day we were a competitive bot with a rotating drive team that proved to be successful. Going into the last quals match of the day, we unfortunately collided with the wall, resulting in our arm snapping in half. With this being the only mechanism on the robot, it was essential to fix this before playoffs. We worked diligently throughout lunch to put on a new fully functioning arm. 

Going into alliance selection, we were confident in our position as we were ranked 8th overall. We were the first pick of alliance 5 leaded by FRC team 6381 Red Raider Robotics and our partner FRC team 1732 #2 Hilltoppers. Moving into playoffs, we were confident of our abilities and tried our best. Unfortunately, our alliance lost the first 2 matches. But the skills learned throughout the day proved to be more valuable. The judges awarded us the TWISTED Metals Award for our quick working robot repairs. Our girls learned the valuable skills of FIRST that will translate well for a successful season. We look forward to our next FIRST Ladies event, hosting a movie night playing Hidden Figures.