Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Inspiring students, one robot at a time.

The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation’s mission is to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, affordable, and sustainable robotics engineering programs. We see a future where all students design and innovate as part of a team, experience failure, persevere, and embrace STEM. These lifelong learners emerge confident in their ability to make the world a better place.


VEX IQ Challenge Girl Powered Essay Challenge Sponsored by The REC Foundation

Girl Powered is an initiative to redefine the face of STEM by creating a more inclusive environment for all students within the robotics community. Together, with the support of the entire community, we strive to encourage equal participation of young women and men in competitive robotics. We want to use this challenge to show the robotics community at large just what it means to be a Girl Powered VEX IQ Challenge team!

Do you have a compelling and engaging story about how your team has incorporated Girl Powered into your program? Or do you have a story to share that illustrates how diversity of perspective changes your robot design, your team chemistry, and even your ability to succeed?

This challenge is about sharing your robotics experience as a team that embraces the Girl Powered initiative and what being Girl Powered means to you and your team. Your story must contain a clear beginning, middle and end.

Think of this as a pictorial essay: Your submission should be created using a combination of imagery (photography, drawings, screen captures, etc.) and supporting text.

5 key things to keep in mind for a successful submission:

  • When you hear the phrase, Girl Powered, what comes to mind? How is it reflected in your team’s approach to robotics?
  • Share how your team has taken initiative to create a more inclusive environment that attracts a diverse group of students.
  • Share how each team member has tried various roles on the team (everything from designing, building, programming, strategy, awards, etc.). Explain what you learned through this experience.
  • How do you believe diversity of perspective changes your robot design, your team chemistry, and even your ability to succeed?
  • Who is your STEM role model and why? Does this person inspire you to have a more inclusive team/program? How?

We want compelling, engaging stories that give us insight into how you’ve taken the Girl Powered initiative and incorporated it into your experience on a VEX Robotics Competition team. The benefit of having a diverse team will become apparent through your individual stories.

*Your entry may be shared to help promote the Girl Powered Initiative.


Grade Level Requirements
Elementary School Middle School High School College / University No Grade Level Restrictions
Program Requirements
VEX IQ Robotics Competition


  • 1st: $750 gift certificate and automatic team qualification for this season's VEX Robotics World Championship
  • 2nd: $500 gift certificate
  • 3rd: $250 gift certificate


  • Entrant grade range: Elementary, Middle School
  • VEX Robotics Competition team requirement: Must be part of a registered VIQC team for the current season.
  • Designs submitted in previous years’ Online Challenges are not eligible for submission this year.
  • Only one entry per team is permitted. However, each team in a multi-team school or club program may submit one entry. For example, teams 123A and 123B could each submit an entry, but team 123A could not submit two entries.


These are the minimum requirements for this challenge. Failure to fulfill any of these requirements will result in your entry being disqualified from advancing to Finalist.

  • Entries must be between 500-1500 words long. Entries over or under this word count requirement will be disqualified.
  • Your final submission must be in PDF format (maximum file size: 20MB). Entry not in PDF format will be disqualified. You must upload your entry to the Online Challenges site during the submission process. Links to Google Drive, Dropbox, Sharepoint or any other site are not permitted and will result in disqualification.
  • Submission must have a credit section that includes:
    • Name of the entrant or entrants
    • Registered team number
    • Title of submission
  • Work submitted in previous or different Online Challenges may not be repurposed for this submission.

The “Judging Information” section below will provide additional guidance on how your project will be evaluated.


  • Instructions to upload your PDF:
    • Click the green Enter Challenge button on the right side of the screen.
    • Fill out the submission form, and type your text in the Full Description box according to the Requirements for this challenge.
    • Click Save.
    • Click the blue Files/Images button in the upper right of the screen.
    • Drag/Drop your PDF file into the Upload a File box.
    • Be sure to edit the Display Name and file information according to the Requirements for this challenge.
    • Save your edits and click Update on the entry screen.
    • Your submission will now show when you click the blue All Entries button to view the challenge entries.

Judging Information

Judging Information

Judges will select ten finalists and those finalists will be reviewed by an additional panel of pre-selected professionals, and those scores will be combined with the initial scores to determine the winners of this Online Challenge.

The judges will evaluate and score each entry as follows:

  • Up to 5 points for student team member(s) creating and producing the story*
  • Up to 20 points for a well-structured, complete story that contains a clear beginning, middle, and end. The story also includes graphics or photos to support the text.
  • Up to 30 points for focusing submission on what it means to be a Girl Powered VEX IQ Challenge team. Scoring will be based on how well the story:
  • reflects the team's approach to Girl Powered in robotics
  • shows how the team has taken initiative to create a more inclusive environment that attracts a diverse group
  • includes how team roles are shared and what is learned through experience trying new roles
  • illustrates how diversity of perspective influences robot design and team chemistry
  • describes a STEM role model who inspired the team to have a more inclusive program
  • Up to 20 points for the quality of the prose and writing with good grammar and sentence structure.
  • Up to 10 points for the creativity of the final product. Was the submission enjoyable to read, well designed, and engaging?

*Students should be the sole creators of this submission. It is acceptable for adults to assist with downloading any necessary resources or submitting the story where students may need permission. 

community-voting results will play a role in a tie-breaker scenario.

Deadline Information

Current time:
Tue, May 28, 2024 3:19 AM CDT


Tue, Sep 1, 2020 9:00 AM CDT


Fri, Dec 11, 2020 5:00 PM CST

Voting Ends:

Tue, Dec 15, 2020 12:00 PM CST