Award-Winning All-Girl Robotics Team Breaking Barriers

Thunderbots help patrons learn about robotics
By Brandon Macken
July 16, 2019
The Thunderbots are an all-girl STEM robotics team that began volunteering at Orangevale Library in September 2018. As part of the Lego Mindstorms League, they’ve been able to change the league landscape by winning awards and competitions.

Being the only team from California and winning an award for our country is incredible.

Earlier this year, they were one of 100 teams from around the world invited to compete in the First Lego League Open International in Turkey. This is a tournament where the best robotics teams from around the world come to compete for awards. While they were overseas, the team won the Inspiration Award for continuously inspiring people inside and outside of their community.

Sudheer Padinchara, the coach of the Thunderbots, has also been inspired by what the girls have been able to accomplish. “The experience we gained from competing against 82 teams from over 40 countries was amazing,” Padinchara said. “Being the only team from California and one of three teams representing the United States (the other two from Virginia and Illinois) and winning an award for our country is simply incredible.”

Being at the forefront of this new movement, the Thunderbots have helped teach many children and adults about robotics through their partnership with the Sacramento Public Library. The three members of the team, Samyukta Sudheer, Avanti Ramraj, Diya Iyer and Easha Narayanan, are a symbol of inspiration for young girls who grow up wanting to succeed in engineering. They have broken barriers in robotics communities around the world for their work over the past couple of years.

The Thunderbots have STEM workshops scheduled to help children and adults build robots throughout 2019 at Orangevale Library. Bruce Barber, the library supervisor, has been an advocate for the STEM robotics program. “The kids attending the workshops love the activity, and most adults that walk into the library are intrigued by what the kids are doing during the program. As a result, we have additional partnerships and will be offering more robotics programs throughout the system.”

Padinchara said he is very proud to be hosting these programs with his team. “The classes offered are hosted twice a week every other week. These classes will teach kids how to build a robot and program it using the Lego Mindstorms EV3 software.” Padinchara said. “We especially want to give a chance to underprivileged children to explore robotics using Lego EV3, and the library gives us that opportunity.”

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