Suffern Robotics Encourages Girls to Embrace STEM

 

Suffern robotics high school team girls

My teenage son Jason has been on the Suffern Robotics Team for three years now. Last year, the team made it all the way to the FTC World Championships in Detroit, taking home a nomination for the Connect award. This year, Jason’s the team captain, hoping to repeat last year’s success. 

The Suffern Robotics Team (Team #7486 for those of you keeping score at home), participates in the First Tech Challenge, which is a remarkable and wonderful program. Not only does it encourage group learning and problem solving but “gracious professionalism” is first and foremost with everything.

At competitions, teams actually lend a hand to other teams in need. It’s a friendly rivalry where it’s far from uncommon to see one team offer up a screwdriver to another team that lost theirs. I honestly have never seen such a bunch of hardworking, passionate kids as this Suffern Robotics Team. 

It’s truly amazing to see them do it all from brainstorming to sketching to modeling and physically cutting out and assembling parts for their robot; these students do it all. There’s also the actual programming of the robot and driving it around. Not to mention building out a “pit” to show off everything they’ve done, an engineer’s notebook explaining every minute detail and decision they’ve made, and then the marketing and fundraising. 

I really have no clue where they find the time to get it all done.

Recently, I happened to notice that there were quite a few girls on the team. Five out of 15 to be exact. Jason and I started talking and he thought it would make a great story for my blog if he interviewed the girls to find out what they love about robotics, why they joined the team and how to get more girls into STEM. 

So he did. 

Without further ado, here are the lovely young ladies (STEM Girls!) of Suffern Robotics:

 

Girls in STEM Vicky

Vicky

Why did you join the team?

I joined the team because another female friend of mine was on the team at the time and she asked me to come check it out with her.

What do you love about robotics?

The relationships I have formed over the past four years are the thing I value most in robotics but of course I am extremely glad that I was able to learn about hands-on building, mechanics and machining. I feel as though otherwise I never would have gained that kind of experience or kind of know how to do anything for myself if something broke or whatever.

How do you think we can get more girls interested in STEM?

I think that a lot of girls are kinda intimidated by STEM as they see it as a male dominated field and I think that if we show them that there are plenty of girls in STEM fields that are doing really well that girls would show more interest in it and it would seem like a more viable option for them.

If STEM is really broad I think I’ve always been interested in the STEM fields even when I was a kid I was more math and science oriented so I always enjoyed those subjects a little bit more. 

How did you become interested in STEM?

Joining the robotics team, specifically, was something that I would have already been interested in from the beginning, there wasn’t something that triggered it.

Do you think you will follow a career in STEM?

Yeah, I am actually pursuing a major in environmental engineering and my purpose in that is to not only put in my environmental interests and my care for the environment and climate but also put in the fact that I can use all my engineering experience from robotics and my years in high school to make the world better I guess. 

Do you feel like boys and girls have equal opportunities on the Suffern Robotics team?

Yes on this team. We’re given equal opportunity, it’s just that things just kinda happen and people feel like they’re being pushed into something when they’re actually not.

 

Girls in STEM Jordan

Jordan

Why did you join the team?

Ever since a young age, I’ve always been interested in STEM and when I heard about the robotics team and how well they did I thought it would be a perfect fit for me.

What do you love about robotics?

I love all the connections I’ve made, whether it be my teammates or people from other teams or professional business executives that if I need any help, there is always someone I can ask.

How do you think we can get more girls interested in STEM?

I think we need to introduce girls into STEM at a younger age because when you are young you look around and you see STEM is always marketed towards guys and I think if we were to advertise it to girls as well and just for everyone it would just be better.

How did you become interested in STEM?

I’ve always hung out with guys more than girls and that just led me to becoming more interested in science and technology.

Do you think you will follow a career in STEM?

I’m not exactly sure what I wanna do right now but I know it will involve STEM.

Do you feel like boys and girls have equal opportunities on the Suffern Robotics team?

I think in some aspects they do but other aspects, the guys outnumber the girls and that does lead to some superiority complexes but for the most part, everybody has the ability to do whatever they like regardless of gender.

 

Robotics Team Ahtziri

Ahtziri

Why did you join the team?

There was a meeting after school, in middle school, so I went with my friend, Seda, and then I joined and then I liked it.

What do you love about robotics?

That we get to work on our own and use the tools and learn how to use them ourselves.

How do you think we can get more girls interested in STEM?

If more girls present and are like hey you can do this and it’s not only guys, there are girls and we can show the things we can do and like machining, it’s not just the boys like girls can also do that.

How did you become interested in STEM?

Science has always been kinda easy for me and math also. I like it more than history and english.

Do you think you will follow a career in STEM?

Probably or something related.

Do you feel like boys and girls have equal opportunities on the Suffern Robotics team?

Yeah.

 

Robotics Team Seda

Seda

Why did you join the team?

I joined the team because I was very interested in engineering and the robotics team is a very good way to learn more about that.

What do you love about robotics?

I like the fact that we come up with everything ourselves and we can be very creative about our ideas.

How do you think we can get more girls interested in STEM?

Bring more girls to outreach events so they can see that we enjoy it.

How did you become interested in STEM?

I learned about it and yeah I was interested.

Do you think you will follow a career in STEM?

I already have a career in mind: astrophysicist. 

Do you feel like boys and girls have equal opportunities on the Suffern Robotics team?

Yes

 

Robotics Team Alejandra

Alejandra

Why did you join the team?

In my old school, it was too expensive to join robotics and then this school I was looking for an engineering club, because I was in the engineering club at my old school, so I found robotics.

What do you love about robotics?

We get to go to competitions and it’s really fun and instead of working alone we get to ask people’s opinions on what to do.

How do you think we can get more girls interested in STEM?

I don’t know

How did you become interested in STEM?

I wanted to know how to make stuff and learn how to use machines and all that stuff. Maybe it was going to help me in the future.

Do you think you will follow a career in STEM?

I am looking to be a sound engineer.

Do you feel like boys and girls have equal opportunities on the Suffern Robotics team?

I think boys get more because they outnumber us.

 

Next stop for the Suffern Robotics Team is heading upstate to Utica, NY for the Regional Championships. If they can advance from there, it’s on to World’s in Detroit again! The team is currently looking to raise funds to help pay for their travel to States, so if you can spare anything at all, please help these insanely talented and kind kids out.

Suffern Robotics logo

Donate to Suffern Robotics

Follow Suffern Robotics: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

(Visited 186 times, 1 visits today)

No Comments Yet.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge