The Community Bots provides training in STEM-robotics for middle school girls in underserved communities in New York City and Latin America. We recognize that the ideal time to expose girls to the field of STEM-robotics is during their impressionable middle school years.
Middle school girls can form negative stereotypes about gender roles related to STEM education, which can ultimately lead to limited career opportunities in fast-growing STEM fields. We challenge these stereotypes by providing hands-on, STEM-robotics courses. To do this, we donate equipment to our partnering programs (schools and after-school programs). We then train the teachers in these programs on how to use a pedagogy that is student centered, fun, and engaging while celebrating the achievements of women in the STEM-robotics field. Together with the newly trained teachers, we run one-week, introductory robotics courses for the students.
We continue to support our partnering programs so that the curriculum and resources are sustainable. Once our partnering programs successfully replicate the curriculum on their own over a two-year period, we provide them with updated robotics equipment together with ongoing support and training.
The Community Bots Team
Ana Agón and Jack Cooley, cofounders of The Community Bots, are both experienced middle school teachers. Ana formerly worked with Jack to co-lead a middle school robotics program, The Bots, at The Chapin School, an all-girls, K-12, independent school in New York City. The Bots program focuses on the development of STEM-robotics skills. As the girls improve their design and programming abilities, they join teams that enter various STEM-robotics competitions, such as FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and RoboCupJunior. The Chapin teams have earned numerous awards at competitions, such as the coveted Champion’s Award at the New York City FLL Championship, and have gone on to compete against teams from throughout the United States and the world.
Ana was born in Colombia, teaches Spanish at a school in Long Island, NY, and has worked with robotics and middle school girls for many years. Jack started the Chapin School's robotics program seven year ago, oversees the school's competitive robotics teams, and is a science teacher and department head.
Bob Hall guides The Community Bots with data collection and analysis based on the student and teacher surveys. Bob works for the VA Healthcare System conducting health research on American Veterans. His main areas of focus are population research, health surveys, medical informatics, and precision oncology.
Antonia Halstead assists The Community Bots with our growing Women and STEM page. Antonia is currently a graduate student at Columbia University. Previously, she worked as a marketing director at The Drone Racing League and Tough Mudder, respectively. She is a Chapin alumna and will be coaching lacrosse there this spring.
Abigail Solomon is a Chapin student in eighth grade. She is a veteran member of The Bots and was instrumental in the creation of this website and its ongoing updates.