Welcome to our FIRST Robotics blog! Analog Devices sponsors 24 teams in the FIRST Robotics competition each year. This week, we go behind the scenes with the FIRST Robotics Team 5679 - Girls On Fire. Lead by Analog Devices, Kristen Chong, these young women are getting ready to show off all their hard work in competitions this year in hopes to reclaim the North Carolina District State Championship. We had the opportunity to ask the Girls On Fire a few questions about how they got into FIRST Robotics, their experiences with the team, what their toughest challenges were and much more.

When we asked the "Girls", what drew them to FIRST Robotics, we received some great answers about what has helped them fall in love with the FIRST experience. Daisy went on to say “Before the FIRST Robotics competition, I was a part of my middle school’s FIRST Lego League team and wanted to continue participating with FIRST. I fell in love with the environment and the possibilities FIRST offered. My friend encouraged me to join Team 5679 and to continue my FIRST experience.” Another group member Marissa said, “I joined after coming to a competition where my two sisters were competing, I saw the environment and the enthusiasm in the building and I fell in love.”

When asked what their favorite part of the team is, Bella told us her favorite part was “Learning new mechanical techniques and being able to teach students with less knowledge on the subject, more about robotics.” While Bella enjoys being able to teach others, teammate Marissa enjoys being comfortable with the team environment saying, “I enjoy being able to be myself and being able to learn new things without worrying what other people think of me.”

The Girls on Fire like a bit of music during the strategy and build process. Exactly what kind of music do these young women rock out to while building robots? Marissa expressed that with all the different personalities on the team they listen to a variety of music and that there is never a dull moment with the team. Bella echoed Marissa's answer and added that it is always entertaining when their music is going.

As mentioned earlier the leadership of Kristen Chong has left a lasting impression on these young women and has been extremely helpful in this process. Bella explained that “It means the world to me. The mentors have supported me even on things that are not team related and I’m so happy to have them in my life.”

 With every project there comes some challenges and we asked the "Girls" what was their toughest challenge they faced thus far, and how they overcame the challenge. Daisy mentioned to us that “The toughest challenge I’ve encountered has definitely been keeping a positive mindset through obstacles we’ve encountered. Regardless of the situation, I’ve had to remind myself that each obstacle isn’t something negative but something we can learn from and improve.” 

Lastly, we asked them if they will participate in other engineering competitions in the future, Marissa confirmed that she would participate again stating “Definitely! I had so much fun on this team and this team helped me find skills and interest I would've never known I liked. I don’t know where I would be without this team, mentors, and great girls that have been on this team.”

We would like to thank The Girls On Fire and we wish them the best in their competitions this year. We are very happy that their experience with FIRST has been a positive one. Kudos to the Girls on Fire for taking what they are learning from the competitions and helping others who may not have the same opportunity as them. We hope that they continue to have a passion for Robotics.