Okay, so something that I haven’t openly spoken about on my blog even though it is one of my greatest life passions is my interest and my love for engineering. Specifically Robotics. When i was in 8th grade I was dragged along by my best friend to a robotics club meeting that was being held by one of my favourite teachers. At first i didn’t think that i would enjoy it at all. I didn’t classify myself as being that ‘smart’. But once i arrived in that room where kids were coding robots and building cool designs that allowed for the robots to kick soccer balls or pick up a can after going through this course where sensors had to follow a line, honestly i thought that it was the coolest thing on earth! And i instantly fell in love, not only with the thrill of being in such a cool environment with such cool people but the pressure that robotics put on you to be a leader and to push through tough and challenging situations. It has made me the ‘on my feet problem solver’ that I consider myself to be.
Not only was it a revolutionary point in my life, because i very quickly moulded into the environment of robotics and truly do feel at home when I am either helping people work on their projects or when i work on projects myself. There is something about the challenge that makes it so appealing. The knowledge that you can figure this problem out, or overcome why something isn’t working. That empowers you to work so much harder and eventually figure out.
Being a girl and doing robotics it was a very fascinating thing for the male on lookers. They seemed to be gob smacked that a girl could enter a competition having built and coded the robot herself and actually win. Beating the boys with years and years of experience who considered themselves dominant. It was a little bit of a shock to the system, myself and another girl whom I ended up joining forces with at nationals in 2015 quickly gained a lot of respect from the officials and the other competitors. So from those few competitions today my main daily dedication is to teaching girls all about robotics, the competitions and giving them the opportunity to compete and become dominating women whom become ‘household names’ to those of the engineering world.
There are just so many opportunities and personally i don’t think enough women allow themselves to explore the avenues of robotics/engineering/coding. They are such underrated professions for women and I think that with a little bit of perspective and prosperity girls will quickly discover that the environment and the crucial leading, team building and problem solving skill that you develop from robotics is just so unique and amazing.
One of my proudest moments as an ambassador for robotics and womens involvement was watching the first teams from the all girls school compete in a robotics competition last year. When i arrived at my current school and realised that there was no robotics and no avenue for the incredibly talent girls that i was surrounded by to endeavour and blossom in robotics and engineering. So me being me (as many people say) i decided to stand up and make a change “be the change” (that was the year’s seniors grade message for the year) so thats exactly what i did. I pushed and pleaded and i harassed people for weeks until i was you couldn’t not hear me. I wanted a robotics team and the girls wanted to be apart of it. I was really lucky for the support that i gained not only from the girls around me but also the teachers who supported me with this endeavour from day 1. So I got a team up. Actually i got 4 teams up and running. and 4 teams competed at a competition a few weeks later. While we didnt do the best and it wasn’t the result that we were hoping for, we showed up and we competed. We were also the only girls school competing in the competition, in all 3 sections of the competition. For robocup that was amazing.
Despite our results we were all winners for spreading the message that girls can do it. And a legacy began. For me it wasn’t about being the leader or starting a co curricula or anything like that. It was purely to give girls the opportunity to try something new, to give others the same opportunity that i had. And since i have done that I am so proud of the girls in the robotics teams. They have found a passion that they would not have considered before. That for me is the biggest achievement of all.
I always get asked if I am going to become an engineer or a coder or do a profession accompany robotics like building or programming them myself. And the truth is, i don’t see myself doing anything like that. Instead I want to be a teacher someone who inspires boys and girls to be the best they can be. Give them hope and open up lots of avenues for them. That’s what i want to, thats what i enjoy.
I hope that one day i achieve this but at the current moment I am enjoying the avenue I am currently on teaching the girls at school and competing myself during my senior year of school. I dedicate a lot of time to robotics (almost all my lunch times and afternoons) however i wouldn’t change it for the world.
So if you’re a girl or guy and you think you might be interested by robotics, engineering or coding. Even if you aren’t sure whether its for you. Just give it a go. It’s not easy but it is definitely worth it. And you never know you may just fall in love with it.