The Allderdice Steel Dragons was founded in 1998 as the first robotics team at Taylor Allderdice High School, offering access to the STEM fields to all students, regardless of background or economic status. Since then, more than 300 students have gone through the program.
The Steel Dragons annually kicks off in September, recruiting new members and beginning periodic meetings. Then, during the winter season, the team meets every day after school in a lab, typically for 4 to 5 hours, where we split up into sub-teams and work to design, build, and program a robot and other assorted projects.
Then, during the spring and summer, we enter into various competitions including the Pittsburgh regional of the FIRST Robotics Competition, held at the California University of Pennsylvania, with about 45 other teams. During the months of January, February, and March, the team often spends close to 40 hours per week together preparing for the competitions.
What We Need:
This year, the Steel Dragons finished only one match away from advancing to the world championships in Detroit. Our team performs and competes at the same level as the other major robotics teams in Pittsburgh — with only a tenth of the funding. We receive nearly no funding from the public school system and rely on donors and sponsors for financial support.
The team works to promote proficiency, creativity, and the learning of robotics, but this is only possible because of access to engineering tools, parts, mentors, and team activities, such as competitions and outreach, which cost money.
How We're Different:
Our team is different from others because of our accessibility to students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn the STEM fields. The team is completely free to students, despite having less funding than other teams in the city.
The Steel Dragons consistently gives a learning experience in STEM that surpasses that of any opportunities in those fields at Allderdice High School, to students who would otherwise not have access to such an education.
We do not pay any staff at the school and have zero administrative costs: all funds received are allocated directly towards the education of the members on the team, through expert mentorship, competitions, and an engineering environment where students can truly learn hands-on.
All funds for the team are used for entry fees for competitions, new engineering tools and robotics parts, and student scholarships costs to ensure that all students can participate in the team, no matter their socioeconomic status.
The team significantly impacts students’ decisions about college: this year, all graduating seniors from the team continued to college and declared their majors in engineering, physics, electrical engineering, or computer science.
In the last three years, the team has increased in size five-fold. During the 2018-19 season, we advanced to the regional playoffs and finished only one match away from continuing to the world championships.
The team now has 7 mentors, who include NREC engineers, Google software managers, alumni, and partner representatives.
We want to make the website interactive and exciting with as little text as possible. However, if you are interested, we are always willing to tell you more about the team. Contact us!
Visit our media page to see our amazing match-by-match performance.