Meet the Team

Our Goal

The Chicago Style BotDogs's mission is to Engineer a Better Future for students by promoting FIRST Robotics, STEM education and diversity. We aim to provide an authentic opportunity, as a right and not a privilege, to students of diverse backgrounds to celebrate innovation while developing essential skills for success in areas of technology, engineering and everyday life.

About the Team:

The Chicago Style BotDogs, formerly known as X-Machina, is a young team with 6 seasons beneath our belt, but we have accomplished much in this short time. We are the proud winners of the 2013 Rookie All Star award and the 2014 Engineering Inspiration award at the Midwest Regional Competition. In our first two seasons we qualified for the World Championship Tournament and placed among the top third of all of the international teams that competed. In 2018, we won first place at the Central Illinois Regional, making us qualified for the World Championship Tournament yet again. In 2019, we were semifinalists at the Central Illinois Regional, close to qualifying for the World Championship for a second year in a row. 

Each year, the BotDogs:

  • Promote FIRST Robotics and STEM programs throughout the Chicago Public School District

  • Establish meaningful partnerships with local schools and businesses to ensure a beneficial and lasting impact on our community

  • Provide authentic learning opportunities for students by creating a collaborative environment with professional engineers from the community

  • Revolutionize the accessibility of STEM education so that it is a right rather than a privilege.

  • Inspire students of diverse backgrounds to pursue post-secondary opportunities in technology and engineering-based careers to bring diversity to the world of robotics

We are Engineering a Better Future by:

  • Providing students from underrepresented demographics, including women and students with special needs, access to opportunities and activities in STEM fields

  • Engaging our community to create lasting partnerships with other schools, teams, businesses, and museums to promote STEM education

  • Actively changing the face of education through our extensive alumni network and our creation of revolutionary new programs and courses in the nation’s 3rd largest school district and some of the best colleges and universities in the world

Major Program Highlights:

  • Creation of Adaptive Robotics program

    • Students with autism participate in a modified version of FLL while being mentored by FRC team members

    • Written and designed by BotDogs members in collaboration with the Special Education Department at Lane Technical High School

      • The course has been approved by CPS, the third largest school district in the nation, and is available for implementation in any Chicago Public School

    • Is being taught to 13 students at Lane Tech and 15 students at Have Dreams, a school for students with autism

  • National panel discussion on inclusion in schools

    • A member was invited by Google and Donor’s Choose to be the only teenage panelist in “a national conversation: advancing inclusion in our schools” along with the Department of Education, National Parent-Teacher Association and educators nationwide

    • Given a $2,500 grant for our work

  • Partnered with the Chicago Girls in Computing to give a presentation to over 125 young women for an event called “Digigirlz” where they spoke about FIRST and gave a demonstration of an FTC robot

  • Robot Revolution Exhibit

    • The members of the BotDogs who were formerly on our all-girls GEMS team are featured in the nationwide museum exhibit, Robot Revolution. This exhibit features our team members in an interactive video display.

  • Increasing team size by 328% while maintaining gender parity

  • RoboTour (2013, 2014, 2015)

    • The BotDogs organized a field trip to neighboring elementary schools to demo our FRC, FTC and FLL robots and get students and schools interested in starting FLL teams.

    • Tweeted throughout the day and had such a positive response we had twice the number of schools we visited ask to sign up for future Robo Tours

    • Now targeting low income minority schools​

  • 2014 FIRST Promotional Video

    • Sent to 477 schools, including every school in CPS

    • Featured BotDogs team members talking about FIRST and how to start a team

    • Tweeted by CPS to 15,000 followers within 24 hours of its online launch

    • Over 200 views in the first couple hours of being uploaded

  • Microsoft Presentation (2014 & 2015)

  • MSI Robot Block Party 2014-2016

    • The BotDogs took part in an exhibit to promote FIRST and STEM to all museum patrons

    • Demonstrated robots to kids and parents to develop an interest in robots​​

  • 2015 FIRST Promotional Video

    • Sent to over 800 schools around the state of Illinois resulting in 10 schools immediately committing to an FTC team in 2015

    • In conjunction with our project to get IHSA to recognize FIRST Robotics, we targeted IHSA schools specifically in order to get at least 10% of all IHSA schools to have a FIRST team. This is the number of schools required to get IHSA to track FIRST as an emerging sport

  • Hosted FTC Summit 2015

    • Provided 9 teams with a field to work with

    • Students taught engineering and strategy workshops and seminars.

    • Helped teams troubleshoot hardware and software problems​​​​​

  • Aspire IT 2016

    • Taught a 7 week programming course to 40 5th-8th grade girls, many of whom did not have prior programming experience​