When you hear the phrase “all girls” whether it's schools or robotics teams what do you think of? Many people have misled notions about what it means to be part of an all girls school or team. One of the biggest criticisms I have heard people voice is that there is an immense amount of drama in an all girls environment. As a Junior at Salem Academy, an all girls school, I can say that the notion that all girls schools are filled with drama is the farthest thing from the truth. Attending an all girls school creates an incredibly strong community, filled with confident young women who believe in themselves, what they can do, and they use that confidence to boost up the young women around them. I have personally seen the positive impact an all girls environment has had on the development of other girls confidence and abilities.
I can especially feel the sense of community in an all girls robotics team. Before I went to Salem Academy I was enrolled in a co-ed public school where the majority of boys steamrolled girls in STEM activities. That problem is virtually nonexistent with an all girls team because it feels like we are all on the same wavelength. We are able to connect more because when you have an all girls robotics team it is much easier to understand how we all think and act. Not to mention most of my team being friends before we joined robotics. Other than the community an all girls robotics team allows us to be imperfect. When I was at my co-ed school I always felt I had to be perfect in order to keep my STEM “street cred”. I knew that there was not a high tolerance for imperfect girls in STEM because as soon as you would slip up or make a mistake, it gave certain people the chance to enforce harmful stereotypes that women don’t belong in the STEM fields. Since these harmful stereotypes are more often than not perpetuated by boys, an all girls environment provides a safe place to make mistakes, learn, and grow without fear of being judged or ridiculed.
I think the main thing to take away from this is that an all female school and/or team is a great opportunity for young women to discover what they are interested in without judgement. I highly recommend that all girls consider the possibility of being a part of an all girls school/ robotics team.
This blog was written by Emma from FTC team 7444. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule!
Hi my name is Anna and I am a 16 year old on the co-ed FRC team 4967 That ONE Team-Our Next Engineers. I am a student co-captain on my student leadership team and work mainly with our business and media team. I joined FIRST in the fall of 2018 as a freshman in high school. My first meeting was an interesting one, as my brother was the one who forced me to come since he was already on the team. I thought FIRST was just about the robot, and because I am not a very fabrication-oriented person, the team didn’t interest me at first. But then I found out about the business team and I was hooked.
As a person more interested in art than building, I would not have done well on a team just oriented towards fabrication. So when I first heard the phrase “FIRST is more than just robots”, it really resonated with me. A FIRST team, no matter what the level, teaches you so many skills about leadership, presenting in front of others, how to market your team, how to connect with and learn from your teammates, and most importantly how to have fun. FIRST has changed my life for the better: I have become more confident in myself, I have learned how to lead and how to follow, and I have learned so many skills that will be essential to my future.
Every year of my time on the team, I have participated in the Chairman’s award submission. I, along with a few other students, worked together to write the essay and executive questions, create a presentation, and present in front of a panel of judges at competitions. Many people don’t see the value of being part of the Chairman’s submission, but I strongly disagree. Each year I learn more and more about my team, about FIRST, and about what it means to be in FIRST, along with so many writing and presentation skills that I will need for my future. Instead of viewing it as just another task, I started to view it as a way to share my story with others in FIRST, to share how it has inspired me, to become who I am today.
When I first joined my team, I was unsure of the purpose of it all. From my outside perspective I only saw it as a competition between teams, maybe a way to have fun, but boy was I wrong. FIRST has completely changed the opportunities that I have for my future. Along with the skills that I have learned, it has led me to my chosen career path of graphic design. FIRST gives me the opportunity to connect with many business professionals, and FIRST team experience can open many doors to colleges and careers.
As a Junior in high school, I only have one season left after 2021 as a student, after which I will officially be a FIRST alum. It can be scary to think about the future sometimes, where to go to college, what career to go into, and many other things. I may not have all of my plans figured out, but the one thing I do know is that I plan on becoming a mentor on a FIRST team, wherever I end up. The knowledge and experiences that we have are unique to us, so there is no better person to pass this on to the next generation than us. We have been through the things that the younger students are going through, so we can be there to help them through it, inspire them to take charge, and be a leader.
As women in FIRST, we can be there to inspire the next generation of women to take the paths that we did, to improve our future, to become leaders, to prove to the world that we can do it all. I am one of three women students on my team. All three of us are in leadership positions, and all of us pursuing different aspects of the team. We can be role models for the next generation, to pursue what we are passionate about, no matter the stereotypes. So as a final message, stand up for who you are, become a leader, and inspire the next generation to do the same. The world always needs more women who are willing to stand up and show the world who we are.
This blog was written by FRC Team 4967 That ONE Team. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule!
Growing up I always viewed robotics as an activity I would never take part in. My brother would go to his competitions and I’d see his team filled with boys and maybe one or two girls and think “Wow, I guess that’s not for me. I’m a history kind of person anyways.” Fast forward seven years and I’m a four-year member of two all-girls FIRST teams, looking back at everything I’ve learned about myself and the world around me just because I decided to do something outside of my comfort zone.
When you are at an all-girls school, you forget a lot of the societal pressures that force people out of things. For this reason, all it took was a ten minute conversation to get me to set aside my previous thoughts about joining robotics and go to my first meeting. Within a year, I had done things 10 year old me wouldn’t believe. I learned to set aside the biases of STEM being for boys that had been ingrained into me, and it gave me the ability to do things I never thought I could. Over my time in robotics, I’ve learned to code, build, CAD, and lead. The past four years have been filled with triumphs, tribulations, and awards like Dean’s List Finalist that I couldn’t have even dreamed of five years ago. When you’re in an all-girls team, there’s constant support and you feel like you can do anything. There’s no exterior issues that make you feel like you have to filter yourself and your abilities to benefit your teammates, and it’s a form of empowerment I am so thankful to have had so much of. It doesn’t really matter where you go after FIRST; the things you’ve learned during your time set you up for success, especially in regards to becoming a stronger woman that isn’t afraid to go out in the world and defy odds.
This blog was written by Michaela M. from FTC #15333 and FRC #5679. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule!
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