Huntsville Smarties to Represent Alabama at International Competition

WID-TVC is proud to support The Huntsville Smarties!

The Huntsville Smarties is an all-girls FIRST Lego League robotics team that will be representing Alabama at the Carolinas Open International Competition in May 2020.

This group is a second year FLL Robotics team of 10-13 year olds who have won numerous awards including Robot Performance, Gracious Professionalism, and Champion awards.

At the recent Alabama FLL State Championship held on January 25, the Huntsville Smarties won the Alabama spot to the Carolinas Open International Competition where they will compete with kids from around the world.

There they will share not only their robotics achievements, but also their project, which includes improving the lives of people with varying disabilities using an app similar to Waze. Our chapter has committed to supporting the Huntsville Smarties by covering the $1200 entry fee into the Carolinas Open International Competition.

Stay tuned for updates on how this team of rockstars does at their next competition. We wish them the best of luck!!!

Local Chess Player to Represent Alabama at National Girls Tournament of Champions

As part of its STEM efforts in the community, The Tennessee Valley Chapter of Women In Defense contributes to scholarships for the Girls Summer Chess Camp Scholarship, which allows recipients to study with Chess Grandmasters. The ultimate goal with the yearly summer camp is to teach critical strategic thinking. This is required for the game of chess, and it directly provides a foundation for necessary higher level strategic thinking required to pursue engineering and other science-related education and career paths.

We are thrilled to announce that Constance Wang, last year’s recipient of WID TVC’s Girls Summer Chess Camp Scholarship, recently won first place at the All Girls State Championship! She will be Alabama’s representative to the National Girls Tournament of Champions later this summer.

“Your scholarship helped her receive additional training last summer from Chess Grandmasters, and she has made the most of that experience,” said Ranae Bartlett, Executive Director of the Madison City Chess League.

Constance and her fellow teammates from Bob Jones High School will also be competing in a team event in April at the All Girls Nationals in Chicago.

Robotics Day: Leap Into Robotics Recap

We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and all of the WID-TVC volunteers who helped in making the inaugural Robotics Day such a great success! This all-day event, open to 5th-8th graders, was held on February 29 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and included many stations and activities showing robotics in various industries and career paths.

WID-TVC proudly hosted 16 kids from Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Kids to Love. The children began with a warm welcome from WID and a private session of drone flights, made complete with an educational overview on drones.

Next, the children enjoyed a Planetarium show tailored towards robotics. They “flew” through the solar system and saw satellites, lunar and mars rovers, and the new European Space System solar explorer up close and personal! Participants enjoyed lunch in the cafeteria, typically reserved for Space Camp attendees, and then went to the Robotics Lab to build a “bristlebot” to take home.

After robot building, the group visited the Davidson Center to see the FIRST Robotics teams. Robot competitions ensued, and the kids were able to see all three levels of robots compete and show their abilities, to include the largest robot playing a game of dodgeball with the children!

Thank you to all who made this first-ever event so incredible!!!


Dr. Virginia Kobler Receives 2020 Service to the Flag Award for Government

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Virginia Kobler was recently awarded the 2020 Service to the Flag award for Government by Women In Defense (WID), an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association. This award will be formally presented to Dr. Kobler during a Service to the Flag luncheon at WID’s National Conference on September 10 in McLean, VA.

Dr. Kobler was the first woman awarded a doctoral degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in 1979. Years later, she would be the first female engineer in the U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command and the first to manage programs in advanced computing hardware and battle management algorithms. Dr. Kobler managed a group of engineers who developed algorithms for BM/C3 for Strategic Defense.

Dr. Kobler is recognized as a pioneer for women in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields and gives her thanks to the support of her husband, Dr. Julian Kobler, and family and mentors such as Dr. Francis Roberts and Dr. Richard Wyskida.

Her advice for young women contemplating careers in the STEM fields is to stay positive. “If I had listened to the naysayers, I would have given up. Keep looking for professional advantages. Never let an opportunity out of your grasp.”

Congratulations, Dr. Kobler, on this well-deserved award!

Read more about Dr. Virginia Kobler in a full article shared by the University of Alabama in Huntsville here.