Kathy Rucker is all about bonding with her family—and her family time just so happens to involve robots.
The playwright and mom of one has joined her husband Hal and daughter Hannah on "BattleBots" team Black & Blue to showcase their ring-spinning 'bot The Ringmaster. While she's listed as the "moral support" of the team, Rucker is all about helping her daughter learn more about math, science and, of course, power tools.
Rucker talks to us about the challenges of robot-making, her idea of misery and what she hopes her daughter inherits from her.
What inspired you to start working on badass robots?
I was an art history and French double major in college. On the other hand, my husband has a master's degree in mechanical engineering and has been building robots for a long time. So you can say I married into the badass robots scene.
What are the best and most challenging parts about working with a team on a robotics project and on a show like "BattleBots"?
Our team consists of me, my husband and my 11-year-old daughter. So the best part of robotics projects is quality family time. The most challenging part is when a deadline is near and my husband goes to the workshop at 5 a.m. and comes home near midnight.
You're showing serious #girlpower and #mompower. What do you want your daughter to learn or take away from your experience?
Building robots with her father is my daughter’s introduction to basic math, engineering and physics. I also like that she’s learning how to make things and she’s not afraid of power tools. Most importantly, though, is that "BattleBots" has so many teachable moments: how to win and lose gracefully, even when your opponent has just destroyed the machine you worked so hard on; how to focus and problem-solve under pressure; and how to meet an immovable deadline.
What quality makes for a good mom?
Patience and a good sense of humor.
What did you think you'd be when you grew up?
I thought I would be the US ambassador to France.
What trait do you hope your child inherits from you?
I hope my kid inherits my curiosity about the world.
What is your idea of misery?
My idea of misery is the sound of a mosquito.
Who is your favorite fictional hero/heroine?
What talent do you wish you had?
I wish I could play the ukulele that’s been in my closet for several years.