2002: My first robot competition. Left to right:
Carolina de Freitas, Elizabeth Turner, Traci Walder,
Anna Baez, Andrea Suarez, and Briana Baker.
2003: Learning to weld at StarBot.
2004: Our first BattleBots event in MN in 2004.
2005: Lonnie Quinn interviewing our Mean N'
Green team for NBC 6. Marvinator's shell is
still in the process of being made.
2006: A few of us celebrate our 18th birthday
along with our second place win at BattleBots 2006.
50 SERVO 06.2012
marked the end of my robot
fighting days, and I tried to convince
myself that it was time to outgrow
the sport. I remembered high school
orientation at Carrollton School
when I was 13, as I stood in the
chemistry lab looking over the six
lab tables that formed a fighting
area to contain a hand-painted
metal monster. The girls stood
behind the controls showing off
their creation and I immediately
knew I had to get involved.
Over the next few months, our
evenings were spent in the biology
lab building our first robot — a
tabletop task bot. We decorated our
new creation, made t-shirts that said
“Girls Build Bots Better,” and
showed up to our first competition
— and we WON! We were hooked.
We spent many evenings and
weekends at StarBot — a local non-profit robotics shop — as we learned
to use a mill, bandsaw, lathe, drill,
welder, etc. The satisfaction of drawing
something on a piece of paper and
being able to walk into the shop
and make it was addicting. As 14
year old girls, the excitement of using
power tools and heavy machinery
overpowered any intimidation from
the flying sparks. I came home with
tiny holes burnt into my Carrollton
School uniform skirt and grease on
my shirt, but we were determined
to keep up with the boys and prove
ourselves with our robot.
After building a few more task
bots and 15 lb BattleBots, it was
finally time to build our first 120 lb
BattleBot as high school sophomores.
Kerminator slowly came to life with
a pentagon-shaped welded steel
frame and a red saw “tongue of
death” between two foam light-up
eyes. Our team of eight girls —
Mean N’ Green — flew to Owatonna,
MN and was quickly intimidated by
the display of robots at BattleBots
IQ 2004. We only won two matches,
but Nola Garcia (CEO of StarBot)
saw some potential in our team and
paired us up with a former BattleBots
team, Checkmate, to mentor us as
we built our next robot.
2007: Mike and I share the
Coolest Robot award after our
first competition together.
2008: Team Rhino (left) from Puerto Rico has been our rival in
the arena year after year, but after the buzzer we have great
friends that took us sailing, hiking through El Yunque, and
exploring caves on our visit to Puerto Rico.