Farzi and her all-girl team at the competition. "2013 First Lego  West Ontario Championship"Engineering student coaches all-girl team in robot competition

Last Saturday, the University of Waterloo hosted the Western Ontario For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Lego League championships, where students aged 9-14 competed to solve tsunami and other natural disaster situations with robots.

Farzi Yusufali, a 4B Engineering student, coached an all-girl’s team of three 14-year-olds leading up to the championships. Farzi’s team, sponsored by the Canadian Association of Girls in Science, had to compete in several smaller competitions to make it to the championships. It was the team’s first time competing and Farzi’s first time coaching, but Farzi was constantly impressed with how hard the girls worked and the solutions they created.

Once they were in, the team spent 12 weeks preparing and programming their robot, which used a box-carrying attachment, an attachment for bringing an airplane down safely, and a plow attachment that could push an ambulance.

“Perhaps it was a combination of my ongoing pursuit to encourage young women to consider science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields as future careers and my knowing how beneficial this experience would be to the girls that led me to take this challenge on,” Farzi said about the her decision to put together an all-girl team for the competition.

The decision paid off, the team managed to win the research award. "It was a lot of fun. It was hard work, but we made it fun," said one of Farzi’s team members, Kennedy. Forty-two teams competed in the championships, and the list of winners have been announced in the uWaterloo Engineering website. The teams surely enjoyed the enriching experience.

You can read more about Farzi and her team’s experience at the FIRST Lego League championships on The Record and the uWaterloo News.

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