robot built by the nerdettes

The Invention to Innovation Center (I²C) is the home base of the Nerdettes. The Nerdettes is an all-girls, high school robotics team from Huntsville, AL, who has competed as a FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team for four years. The FIRST Tech Challenge is a robotics competition for middle school and high school students that allows teams to compete head-to-head in challenges with alliances. Coaches and mentors encourage students to develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills, work with engineering practices, value hard work, and participate in a team environment.

Each year at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge, attending teams are presented with a new theme, a corresponding layout for the robot field, and new tasks to complete. Teams can prepare for the competition by coding their robots using a variety of Java-based programming, designing and building their own robots, raising money to buy robot parts, designing and marketing their team brand, and partaking in community outreach to earn awards and share the idea of FIRST around the world.

group photo of the nerdettes outside the i2c at uah

Each member of the Nerdettes is from Huntsville High or JP II, and the team includes Ava McIntosh, Ellen Vegerita, Emily King, Hailey Holsonback, Sydney MacMurray, Megan Quinn, and Averiel Brininger. Each girl on the team has a specific role that is vital to their robot. Ava helps with CAD (3D printing) and organizing the notebook and Nerdettes website. Ellen is the lead electrical and also works with CAD. Emily is the lead Driver of the team and helps with mechanical and outreach. Sydney is also a part of the mechanical, helps lead the team's outreach, and is one of the lead Drivers. Hailey and Megan are the team’s programmers, and Averiel assists with the team's notebook design.

emily king and haley holsonback pictured with gracie davidson

Emily and Hailey were also featured on the Spark Community Chats podcast with Gracie Davidson, the Social Media Coordinator of the I²C. In this episode, the girls describe the ins and outs of robotics, the challenges they have faced, the outreach they have accomplished, and much more! The I²C is proud to support the goals and aspirations of the Nerdettes and to serve as a gathering place for their growth and ideas.

The girls placed 3rd in the I²C's High School Idea Competition – beEntrepreneurial - for their Metric to SAE Adapter. They have also taken part in numerous outreach events, including the National Space Club Breakfast, Trunk or Treat, and STEAMfest 2021. To hear more about what the Nerdettes are up to, be sure to check out the Spark Community Charts episode with Emily and Hailey on the I²C's Youtube Channel (@UAH I²C) or website (²C).


Rigved Joshi

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