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JCECA Students Encourage the Next Generation

National Engineers Week, which takes places at the end of February, is a time that one local team finds extra special.


Two ECA students demonstrate their robot as other girls look on.

Allison Vanater (right) and Kaitlyn Nolte, both students in JCECA’s STEM program, demonstrate their robot to younger girls from schools across Johnston County as part of National Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on Feb. 25, 2023. Both young women are part of the all-girl FIRST Robotics Competition team, G-Force Robotics based in Clayton, N.C.   


G-Force Robotics, a high school robotics team and SWENext club (Society of Women Engineers) located in Clayton, N.C., celebrated National Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023 by inviting local elementary and middle school girls to their build space to showcase how engineering principles are a major part of their FIRST Robotics Competition team. Two Johnston County Early College Academy STEM students who are part of the team helped showcase what it means to be a girl in engineering.

Kaitlyn Nolte, 10th grade, and Allison Vanater, 11th grade, demonstrated the new robot they built for their upcoming season competition and talked to girls from schools across the county.

Ten young girls from Neuse Charter, Pine Level Elementary, River Dell Elementary, Archer’s Lodge Middle, Cleveland Middle, North Johnston Middle, American Leadership Academy and the homeschooling community joined the girls of G-Force to learn a little about the tools and design functions they use to build their robots.

Vanater showed the girls how they built their new robot and talked to them a little about programming in Java. The young girls used basic shop tools like allen wrenches and screwdrivers to help the team take apart another robot. For many, this was a first in using hand tools.

The team was joined by two of their female mentors who are both engineers. Kendra Gregg, a design engineer with Caterpillar, and Callie Daniel, a process engineer with Novo Nordisk, were on-hand to help and talk about their careers.

Daniel stressed the fact that the girls should always ask questions, telling them that there are no bad questions and it is always important to seek answers. “If we influenced one girl today, that is worth it,” said Daniel. “That one girl could have a career in engineering because of meeting these other girls who are also interested in engineering, robots and overall STEM topics.”

G-Force started last year and has been busy influencing younger students through several STEM-aimed outreach programs, and through volunteer service in their community. More recently they have been preparing for their first district robotics competition which will be held in Wake County at Rolesville High School on March 11-12, 2023.

“It was important for us to host this because it is the mission of our team to encourage and inspire more young girls in STEM,” said Nolte, a founding member of G-Force Robotics. “This was the first step of exposing and engaging them in robotics so that hopefully they pursue it further one day.”

Learn more about G-Force Robotics at: