This year, Museum Week is all about Women In Culture, so it’s the perfect time to tell you about one of our very own wonderful women, Laura!
As the Robotics Coordinator at the GSC, Laura maintains robotics classrooms for kids age 5-14 years old, creating class themes and lesson plans. She’s also involved in our YAM (Young Adult Mentor), Robotic Ambassadors and Teacher Assistants programs – programs designed for students who have aged out of our camps and classes but would like to remain involved in robotics through volunteering their time to help with teams and classes.
We took a few minutes with Laura to hear about the role of women in our culture.
What does the GSC do to support girls in STEM and what specifically is your role in this?
At the GSC, we support girls in STEM by providing classes in brick building, programming, design, coding, and a girls-only FIRST Lego League team, the Flying Robo Puggles. We also support up to five FIRST Lego League teams and four FIRST Lego League Jr. teams, open to all students. As the GSC’s Robotics Coordinator, I directly provide support to all of these initiatives.
Why do you think it’s important to encourage girls to get involved with STEM?
I think it’s important to encourage girls to get involved with STEM because as they get older, they’ll need confidence to share their ideas. Traditionally, there’s often a focus on male ideas and points of view, more so than the female perspective. As a society, we still have this bias but need to get to a point where gender doesn’t matter. What matters, instead, is a person’s skills and knowledge.
Can you share a success story?
Meenakshi Singh is a young lady who came to the GSC to join the girls-only Flying Robo Puggles in 2012. She spent three years on the team, then became a YAM for four years. As a YAM, she shared her experience being on a team and supported the students with their ideas and projects. This year, Meenaskshi is graduating high school from NC A&T STEM Early College and was a member of FIRST Tech Competition (FTC) team, Wannabee Strange, where she was one of the main robot programmers over the last two years. It has been so wonderful to watch Meenakshi share her love of robotics and to see her find her passions in life. Meenakshi will be attending MIT in the fall to study electrical engineering and computer science.
Left: Meenakshi working on coding the robot. Right: Meenakshi and her FTC team.
How does it make you feel to see girls like her transition through our programming and follow a career directly related to what you’ve been teaching?
I feel so blessed to be a part of someone’s journey through life. It’s incredible how that small amount of time we spent together has given her the confidence to follow her passion.
#MuseumWeek #WomenInCulture #thefutureisfemale