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New grant will help Chickadees Robotics Team compete on national stage

Chickadees First Robotics team: Ellen Raad and Claire Kubinski work on a robot during the February 2020 competition season. Allison Corona photo.

Bayer Fund recently awarded a $3,000 grant to FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 5871 – The Chickadees to support the team’s participation in the FRC competition and educational programs. The national FRC competition challenges teams of high school students to build robots to complete specified challenges each year.

Boise State’s College of Engineering sponsors The Chickadees, which includes students from across the Treasure Valley who are interested in robotics, STEM fields, and more. FIRST alumna Christine Chang founded the team in 2015 as a response to the under-representation of girls and women in STEM fields, especially at the high school level. The team, which currently has 15 active members, is open to all genders, races, ethnicities, and abilities.

Lead Mentor Ann Delaney said that in addition to supporting the team’s FRC registration for this year, the grant will help pay for marketing supplies and a new Limelight camera, which allows the team’s robot to detect targets marked with reflective tape, aiding in driver navigation and autonomous maneuvering.

Delaney said grants like the Bayer Fund grant are key because, aside from in-kind sponsorship from the College of Engineering (in the form of facilities use and administrative support), the team is financially self-supporting with student members doing a majority of the fundraising. Such grants also make it possible for members to join free of charge, supporting the Chickadees’ philosophy of inclusion. The team, Delaney added, is recruiting new members and mentors.  Those interested can contact

Learn more on the team’s website: