Source: Hometown Life
Author: Brad Kadrich
The idea was twofold: Get middle-school-aged girls more excited about a possible career in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) career and help them toward a good school where they could pursue such a career.
By most measures, organizers of the robotics event “Robogirls,” hosted by ZF/TRW earlier this month at Mercy High School, was a success.
Nearly 30 girls took part in the challenge, creating a robot-sled that would help Santa deliver presents to deserving boys and girls.
Working in teams of two, the girls had to develop a design, build their robot sled, add a present delivery mechanism, and program the robot to work autonomously. The red-shirted mentors — members of Mercy High School’s FIRST Robotics Team 1481 — The Riveters — on hand were to help the students in this process, but leave plenty of space for the girls to work the problem out on their own.
“I think all parties involved considered the event a success,” said Dan Riehl, the team mentor for The Riveters. “As a mentor on a primarily all-girls robotics team, we are trying to help high school girls learn a bit more about what a career in STEM would be like.”
The top three teams were awarded Mercy High School themed prizes as a reward for their efforts. Corporate sponsor ZF/TRW, trying to promote STEM in the community with outreach events like this, donated time and provided the kits used at the event.
Riehl said the ultimate goal was to convince Robogirls competitors to attend Mercy High School and to join The Riveters when they get there.
“The United States has lots of available jobs in STEM that are currently unfilled,” Riehl said. “The technology field is filled with mostly men. By getting girls excited about engineering, we can help to fill that diversity gap and build the available talent pool at the same time.”