Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
Inspiring students, one robot at a time.

Breaking the Gender Gap in STEM


Entry ID #: 7825
Created: Sun, Jan 12, 2020 11:54 AM

Over the years, there has been a steady increase in girls participating in STEM related fields.  Our robotics team, 750S, demonstrates some of the key ideas in the “girl powered” initiative. Every member on our team actively contributes towards creating a more inclusive and diverse environment in order to positively impact the overall process of designing, constructing, and programming our robot.  When we hear the phrase “girl powered”, our minds immediately jump to robotics. To us, girl powered means to put yourself out there and actively contribute to your team. Upon hearing the phrase “girl powered”, our team thinks dedication, hard work, and pushing yourself to reach a goal. This idea is reflected in our team's approach to robotics because our team is determined to come up with a solution to an issue even if it takes us numerous attempts to get it correct.   Our team also took initiative to create a more inclusive environment that attracts a diverse group of students.  On our team, difference in gender does not interfere with or play a role in the overall design, construction, or programming processes.  All members on 750S work to create a better environment that allows everyone on our team to be comfortable. In addition to this, each member on our team has tried various roles on our team.  For example, every member on our team has had experience with building the robot. Our two newest members, who happened to be female, were given an equal opportunity to learn and develop their engineering skills. Additionally, every member on our team has inputted ideas for the design of the robot.  All the members have also contributed to creating a strategy and plan for the autonomous round of the match. The diversity of the team between boys and girls affects the overall process of designing positively, as we are able to get several opinions before making critical decisions in the design process. The difference in our thought process allows us to contemplate all sides of a situation and also allows our team to generate the best solution for an issue.  Our differences increases our teams ability to succeed because it allows us to analyze all sides of a situation and also allows us to create different ideas, The difference in ideas allows us to combine multiple ideas to come up with the best solution.  Our stem role model is Crystal Chao, a robotics engineer working at Huawei, a leading company in China. Some of her greatest accomplishments include winning the Outstanding Doctoral Consortium Paper Award for her PhD thesis at Georgia Tech, regarding her framework related to the social aspects of human-robot interactivity, and improving human-robot collaboration through significant advances in the way the two groups communicate. Despite being a woman in STEM, Chao’s overall contributions to her field does not reflect that she was part of a minority group. Rather, her achievements imply that she was able to overcome the challenges associated with being a female with a STEM career, implying her perseverance, dedication, and ingenuity throughout her days as a robotics engineer. Chao inspires our team to encourage a diverse environment by having more girls on our team. As demonstrated by her numerous accomplishments in the robotics engineering field, females are indeed capable of adding great ideas to our team. Simply put, the girls on a “girl powered” team are valuable assets and help our team succeed, both in and out of competitions.

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