Profile Q&A: Isabelle Lenhardt, Skyline Robotics Captain

WeLoveAnnArbor Q&A with Isabelle Lenhardt.
The 16-year-old junior attends Community High School and was a captain this past season for the Skyline robotics team.

How long have you been in Skyline robotics and why did you first get involved?

This is my third year as a member of Skyline Robotics. I joined the team when I was a freshman. I have always been interested in STEM subjects, but in middle school I took more engineering classes and decided to pursue engineering as a career. FRC seemed like the right space to develop those skills. I heard about Skyline’s team because of my brother, who was on the team for all four years of high school. I joined the team his senior year. Community High School has a robotics team as well, but I was already familiar with the structure of the Skyline team and decided it was a better fit for me.

How did you become captain and do you help recruit more team members? 

My freshman year I settled into being a member of the team and became aware of where we excelled and where we lacked. I wanted to contribute to the team in a positive way and to help others on the team better their skills. I became a leader on the JV team my freshman year. The following year I built up my skill sets as a member of the electrical and chassis sub-teams and furthered my place as a student leader. I ran for captain at the end of the year on the platform of building team spirit and recruiting more girls to the team. It is important to me that as a team we create a welcoming environment for every member. 

How did the girls competition go? Do you think it is a valuable experience?

Our team did really well at the Bloomfield Girls Competition in November 2018! We were selected by the seventh alliance captain and competed in the first quarterfinal match. Unfortunately, we were not chosen to compete in the second quarterfinal match (each alliance had four teams and each team has to play at least once). The alliance was defeated in the quarterfinals, but our team had a great time. I believe that the Bloomfield Girls Competition is a valuable experience for all the members of the team. Younger girls especially benefit from Girls Competition because they get to participate in a real FRC competition prior to our official season. More experienced girls on the team are given a space to build leadership skills. The boys on our team are exposed to a female-dominated STEM environment, which can help them work better in diverse spaces.

Do you feel the rest of the team is supportive of the girls competing and also recruiting more girls?

The team is supportive of the girls competing. They show up to cheer on the girls while they are playing. The mentors and students are helpful with recruiting more girls to the team. 

How many girls are currently on the team?

There are 13 girls on our team of about 57 people.

Did any other teams from Ann Arbor compete at the girls’ Bloomfield competition?

There was one other team from Ann Arbor that competed in the Bloomfield Girls Competition: Huron High School’s team, The Rat Pack. They were on the fifth alliance and they made it to the semifinals. 

What has being a part of the robotics team meant to you? 

Being a part of our robotics team has helped me develop better interpersonal and leadership skills. I have also learned technical skills relating to electrical, chassis, and gearboxes. Being a part of a FRC team is a very rewarding experience. I would suggest to anyone interested in engineering that they should seek out a team to join or mentor.

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