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Women's Lifestyle Magazine

Local Robotics Team Raising Money to Compete in World Championship

Apr 01, 2019 11:29AM ● By WLMagazine

by Allison Arnold | photography by M-Buck Studios

The Bronco Robotics Club. Photo by Julianna Buck.

The Bronco Robotics Club from Western Michigan University will make its inaugural trip to the Vex Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky on April 24. The competition is comprised of more than 11,000 teams from 45 countries.

The Bronco Robotics’ robot will compete in Turning Point, a match in which it will play against other robots on a 12’x12’ square field, trying to score as many points as possible.

The team created two robots for the tournament.

“We started by figuring out what we wanted to build and making possible designs that we could use and then we started building each robot,” Julianna Buck, vice president of The Bronco Robotics Club, said.

According to Buck, it took a couple of months to build the robots and they’re still improving them. “It’s a continuous process.”

Buck is a student at Western Michigan University studying engineering, design and technology.

Julianna Buck, vice president of The Bronco Robotics Club,

“I picked it because I like to make things," Buck said. "A lot of what my major is, is 3D modeling or machining or manufacturing parts.”

Buck and a group of friends took over the former WMU robotics team, which at the time had no members left, and created The Bronco Robotics Club. They then forged a competitive robotics team within that club.

Currently the only woman on the team, Buck says that she’s often outnumbered by men in many of her classes. It’s evident that there’s a lack of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. According to a 2017 report by UNESCO, only 30 percent of women pursuing higher education choose stem-related fields.

“I wasn’t really introduced to STEM-type stuff until eighth grade slash the beginning of high school,” Buck expressed.

The report mentioned that early exposure to math and science has positive effects on increasing interest in related fields and careers. Buck agrees, and thinks an earlier introduction will get more women interested and involved in STEM.

“There’s a good community, at least at Western, of women engineers, so at least that’s nice.”

The Bronco Robotics Team has set up a Fundly campaign and is still raising funds to help support their journey to the April tournament. Click here to donate.

Allison Arnold is a freelance writer and avid adventurer who loves hiking, traveling and trying new foods. She loves writing about food and culture on her blog, For the Love of Tacos.