On October 25, 2010, ten students, 4 Mercy High School faculty members and 8 prospective mentors met with 2 FIRST representatives and were introduced to the FIRST program. We started a team and had a successful rookie year, building a team, a robot, and winning the “Rookie Inspiration” award. Since then, we have won several awards including Imagery, Entrepreneurship, Gracious Professionalism, Spirit, and first place at the Waterbury District Championship.
Our team goals are to build competitive robots, empower young girls, establish community outreach with area elementary and middle schools, and meld FIRST’s “gracious professionalism” with Mercy’s “charism” of hospitality and the advancement of women.
The TechTigers were chosen to appear in a video as an example of Subway “High School Heroes” and were also featured in a UTC FIRST promotional video. We represented FIRST at the Hartford Health Expo, the Women of Innovation Awards, and at the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce Expo. We have done demonstrations at the Children’s Museum in West Hartford, for Girl Scouts, and for an engineering golf tournament. On New Year’s Eve, we demonstrated the robot and taught interactive science demonstrations with “Matt’s Lab” at the “Midnight on Main” celebration. The Mercy High School Alumna Facebook page has posted a picture and short story about the team. We have also had articles and pictures appear in the Hartford Courant, Middletown Press, our own web page, and in a UTC employee newsletter. We publish a newsletter, TechTiger Talk, and had an interview on the public radio show, “All Things Considered”. Most recently we were featured in an article in STRONG magazine for girls- a publication devoted to empowering young girls to reach for their dreams. The TechTigers were chosen as positive role models for girls in STEM.
The TechTigers use the engineering skills they have learned for community outreach. This year we learned how to hack toys for disabled children, making switches that are easier to use. We participated in the “Main Street Stroll” helping children to enjoy science games. We joined the United Nations "Girl-Up" program to raise awareness and money help girls in underdeveloped nations to have access to an education.
An all-female team, our diversity of age, academic abilities, backgrounds, interests and perspective in problem solving, and the desire to share all that we have learned with others are our greatest strengths.