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

How Entering STEM Makes Me Become Stronger


Entry ID #: 4086
Created: Wed, Jan 11, 2017 10:27 PM

  How Entering STEM Makes Me Become Stronger   I used to be a shy and silent Chinese girl, and it was in the summer of 2013 when I started to changed through a robotics summer camp in Canada. The camp introduced computer science and engineering, which were subjects that once looked so far away and unreachable to a girl like me. Like most girls, I used to have this stereotype towards STEM that it’s a boring field that belongs to the nerdy boys. Deep within me, I lied to myself that us girls’ brain structures had already made their decisions that STEM is not what we’re good at the day we were born, and blamed my own fear of stepping into this field on my gender identity. But when I first stepped into the science laboratory of Mcmaster University( the place where my robotics summer camp was), I found that I was wrong. I still remember distinctly how I was overwhelmed by excitement the first time I managed to make “Hello World!” appear on my programming output screen. I still remember distinctly how I stayed up until midnight to build a small lego robot. I still remember distinctly how I screamed excitedly when the mp3 that I put together lit up and started playing “You are my sunshine”. In the one-month robotics summer camp, I was one of the few girls in a crowd of brainy boys. However, I neither fell behind nor felt bored--on the contrary, I was very engaged and eager to talk with everyone else because everything interested me so much. At first, both the teacher and the boys neglected me by not including me in their discussions because my tiny voice was usually drowned by the boys’ loud, shouting voices. No one paid attention to me, a tiny Chinese girl who sat in the corner and tried to stammer out the ideas that she had been thinking over again and again the night before. I always waited and anticipated quietly for someone to come and ask for my ideas, then give out the perfect answer that I had been preparing for so long. But no one ever asked me for my opinions--that was when I realized perhaps I should be more confident, more active and speak louder when I want to express my enthusiasm. Unfortunately, The summer camp had already reached its end when I finally decided this. That summer, I cried on the plane flying back to China. The reasons for which I had long forgotten, but today I still remember the strength of regret that it had given me: if you are interested in something, be enthusiastic and express your love towards it; never limit yourself with worries of what the others will think.   Two years later, I accidentally knew that one of my classmates, Jonathan, was also interested in robots when he entered the VEX World Competition and broke a world record with his team. Me and him created our team, and worked hard together for educating robotics information in our school. We created a robotics(A.I.) club in our high school, and met many other friends who shared the same hobbies as we, and together we started entering competitions. VEX Robotics and entering the STEM field made me much more confident and out-going. Thanks to STEM, I’m no longer the shy girl I used to be. I’m stronger, more determined, and full of robotics dreams--a GIRL’s robotic dreams.                                       On October 30, 2016 Our two teams were invited to participate in the Hong Kong Open Competition, at the Hong Kong Opens, my team 51440B was in the lead though it was our first time entering a contest. But just when we are ambitiously ready to attack the league's first place,a fate's joke came to us--our robot overloaded in the final round, and our wing crashed.Just because of this small error, we lost the final round.Even though we were depressed, but I tried to cheer everyone up: maybe this is the charm and spirit of VEX robot competitions. Before the last moment will never know who is the final winner. Finally, we won second place in the whole competition. After the game we studied together to find the problem. We have done lots of improvements, such as the number of motor, constant commissioning and found that an increase in the number of motors has led to new problems. The machine can not take a straight line. We did not pay much attention, and entered the China Opens anyway. On the first day of the China Opens, our robot overloaded almost every single game, so the results of the competition were not as good as expected. Our moods were low, but we encouraged each other and kept adjusting the machine.On the night of the fist day, we bought loads of coffee and stayed up almost the whole night adjusting our robots and improving our automatic programmes.  On the next day, the situation improved a lot. We get the high school group skills race third. For me, I'm the only girl on our team and at the same time, the only one in possession of(even a little) artistic sensibilities. For this reason, I shouldered the responsibility of doing our engineering notebook and making designing the presentation for our robot. I recorded our weekly training into do a detailed, perfect, clear, beautiful engineering log. With explanation from each team member according to their own work and their familiarity regarding the subject, our team successfully presented and introduced ourselves to the judges committee. Finally, we won the Best Judgment Award judges award in the China Robotics Competition.    After the China Open, we had another 7 days of training at Christmas. We all worked together to improve our programming skills, to transform our machines and to learn 3D modeling. I was very interested in 3D modeling, and I learned how to build our own robots in a 3D model.  Through the creation of AI clubs and participating in the VEX robot competition let me understand the STEM, I am deeply engaged in the fun process of putting a robot together and working side by side with my teammates.As a girl as well as the leader of our club,I learned how to motivate everyone to work for a common goal so that everyone can make full use of their abilities in our team. Through the process, I also learned how a leader needs to carefully consider things and shoulder invisible responsibilities. As long as my teammates depend on me and trust me,I do not feel any difference between girls and boys.    In the end, I hope that more girls to join robots and STEM. I would be sincerely happy if the persoalities and perspectives of many other girls would also be changed through entering the field that used to "belongs to boys."   I am Wang Liyang, our team number: 51440B, we come from The Affiliated High School of SCNU, our players are: Wang Liyang, Huang Zhiguo, Chen Jiahui, Zhang Tianrui      


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