For International Women's Day we're featuring a VEX student from Team 3818 at International School Manila. She explains how robotics has grown her passion for STEM and the many opportunities her school provides. It's amazing to see how Girl Powered has spread globally over the past two years through the lens of so many VEX students.
I was absorbed in working on my drawing-robot one day when the guidance counselor who was visiting the robotics lab, bumped into me exclaiming – “I’m glad to finally see someone represent the female population, Raina!” I smiled at his comment, but his point was evident; it was a busy day in the lab and in a room of about 20 guys tinkering with their robots, I was the only girl present. Over the past couple years, more girls have become part of the Robotics Club here at International School Manila (ISM).
Personally, being immensely passionate about robotics, I have seen myself develop my critical thinking and creativity skills. I always try to encourage all girls who are even mildly interested in robotics to try it out as it’s amazing to see a creation of metal parts, plastic gears, and rubber wheels come alive with the help of the right code!
As for girls being nervous about joining a robotics class or club, try talking to someone already in robotics. It’s useful to talk to girls who have been in the same situation. Interest in a subject is always far greater than any nervousness about being a minority.
Luckily for students at ISM, we are able to showcase our skills in VEX Competitions and in the Robolution Maker Faire! Through this program we gain exposure to the engineering design process and have created a bionic hand, pinball machine, rotating Darth Vader themed Fire-Bot, life-size R2D2, and a mini bowling alley! Experiences, opportunities, and projects like these facilitate the growth and interest of everyone.
Ultimately, it is schools like ISM with inclusive programs and clubs encouraging students to take advantage of unique opportunities, which are providing the platforms for girls of our generation today to become the leaders of tomorrow.
- Raina Singh