Girl Pow­ered in­tro­duces en­gi­neer­ing to young stu­dents

Maryland Independent - - Community -

Stu­dents were off from school Mon­day, Oct. 8, but some showed up any­way. Girl Pow­ered, a ro­bot­ics pro­gram for girls in third through eighth grades, was held at North Point High School. It in­tro­duced en­gi­neer­ing con­cepts and fos­tered team­work among the girls, while they got tips from North Point stu­dent vol­un­teers in the en­gi­neer­ing pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

The field of STEM — sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics — is a male-dom­i­nated work­force, with women rep­re­sent­ing only 24 per­cent of it, ac­cord­ing to VEX Ro­bot­ics, the spon­sor of the Girl Pow­ered pro­gram.

By in­tro­duc­ing younger girls to STEM ac­tiv­i­ties, the work­force may grow to in­clude di­verse think­ing, lead­ing to more in­no­va­tion.

“I was a lit­tle in­ti­mated see­ing all the guys in my classes,” Mary Anne Oni­an­wah, a ju­nior in the en­gi­neer­ing Ca­reer and Tech­nol­ogy Ed­u­ca­tion (CTE) pro­gram at North Point, said in the re­lease. “There were only like three girls in class. But once you get in there and are do­ing the work, you re­al­ize any­one can do it. A girl can be the next one to change the game.”

“We never had this when we were younger,” said ju­nior Shelby Hiens, an en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent. “We had to find our own way to en­gi­neer­ing. We want to share our ex­pe­ri­ences with the younger gen­er­a­tion.”

Kai Ko is a male peer of Oni­an­wah and Heins in the CTE pro­gram and sees the ben­e­fits of broad­en­ing the field to in­clude more women and peo­ple with di­verse back­grounds and cul­tures. “It al­lows for more ideas,” Ko said. “Dif­fer­ent peo­ple have dif­fer­ent back­grounds and bring new ideas and out­looks.”

Dur­ing the Girl Pow­ered pro­gram, par­tic­i­pants were in­tro­duced to en­gi­neer­ing con­cepts and worked in teams to build and pro­gram a robot ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing a se­ries of tasks.

Amiyah Chaney, a fourth grader at Berry Ele­men­tary School, left, pre­pares to en­ter a robot in a chal­lenge while Sienna Scott, a Theodore G. Davis Mid­dle School eighth grader, watches her make last-minute ad­just­ments. The two took part in Girl Pow­ered, a ro­bot­ics work­shop geared to get­ting more girls in­ter­ested in STEM — sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics — fields.

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF CCPS

North Point High School ju­nior Mary Anne Oni­an­wah, left, helps Noelle Mes­sick, a sev­enth grader at Theodore G. Davis Mid­dle School, and Is­abella Gallo, a J.C. Parks Ele­men­tary School fourth grader, work on a pro­ject at Girl Pow­ered, a ro­bot­ics work­shop geared to get­ting more girls in­ter­ested in STEM — sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics — fields.

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