All Girls Electrathon Team at Middleton High School Continues to Surge Ahead

Middleton High School, a pre-collegiate STEM Academy in Tampa has made its mark in defining
excellence in manufacturing and STEM education. Over the years the school has worked closely with FLATE, and we have reported on a number of STEM initiatives that Middleton continues to lead and excel locally here in Tampa. The All Girls’ Electrathon team, comprising of students who are primarily enrolled in the engineering program at Middleton High School, has been actively participating in Electrathon of Tampa Bay’s races since April of 2015 which FLATE has been following along and reporting on their many successes. Since then, the girls have used a frame borrowed from the organization having built upon it to participate in races and learn how to fix, maintain, and improve a standard Electrathon car. The girls have competed and placed in numerous races regionally and nationally.

A pre-existing Middleton team, the Boys’ team, has also been working with the girls and coaching them through the process of starting up their team. One of the members, David Zamora noted that “the Girls’ team just needed a little nudge in the right direction since they started from almost nothing.” David was one of the boys that helped teach the girls how to wire the car and keep it conditioned.

On Wednesday, June 1 Charles Harrison, President of Electrathon of Tampa Bay, visited Middleton to
collect the loaned car, but since taking the car would keep the girls from racing until a new car was built, he decided to leave the car with them until a fully functional car was built. After the boys heard that the girls needed to build a new car, they donated an old steel frame that is now going to be used for the girls’ car. “We gave the girls a chassis so they will have a great start in building a new car for the upcoming race season” said Ryan Norden, driver and mechanic for the boys’ team. The frame of a car is usually the most difficult part to figure out, and since the boys’ have taken care of that, the girls’ can focus on building and racing their new creation sooner than expected.

Katelyn Allan, the driver for the Girls’ team, stated “This will give us an opportunity to show the boys
that girls can do anything the guys can, and maybe we’ll be able to do it just a little bit better.” She and the rest of the girls on the team are firm believers that there is nothing stopping young women from performing as well as their male counterparts in technical areas such as Engineering. Having the Girls’ team at a STEM school has shown that gender is not a limitation. The girls are also in the process of recruiting new teammates and with the help of SMSgt Rutzke, an AFJROTC Instructor at Middleton, are taking strides to improve the Girls’ team.

Building a new car from simple frame will be no easy task, but the Girls’ team is ready for the challenge. For more information on the Electrathon team at Middleton High School visit http://middleton.mysdhc.org/Clubs/Electrathon, or contact Kyle Thompson at kylegthompson@gmail.com.