In September, my team, FRC Team 8002 The Knack, became FIRST Ladies regional partners in the state of Wisconsin. For the past three years, our team has run an FTC Qualifier and at our most recent qualifier, on February 1st, we began working to spread the FIRST Ladies mission. As a part of our teams outreach, we always try to reach out in our community in one way or another. Last year, our biggest initiative was our Robotics in Wisconsin Campaign, to increase funding and the number of robotics teams in the state of Wisconsin. This year, our newest ambition was to increase the number of females in the FIRST community, especially in our state. We started out with making buttons, t-shirts, and fliers along with printing out the recommended informational materials. Our team then met to discuss FIRST Ladies events that we wanted to complete this season. In the end, we decided that we wanted to run a FIRST Ladies “Lunch and Learn” at our qualifier. The goal of this meeting was to gather a group of FTC participants and mentors together in order to learn and discuss the involvement of females in STEM. As a part of the planning process, we decided to assemble a panel of women involved in STEM in order to discuss how it has impacted their lives and give young girls and teams advice on increasing the female to male ratio within FIRST. It was a difficult task to determine who we wanted on our panel. In the end, we chose three females that are close with our team. The first was Rachel Hunter, one of the founders of FIRST Ladies and an engineering student. Second, we had one of our coaches, Kelly Kowalewski, a mechanical engineer and finally, the mother of a team member, Shalini, who works in IT. We reached out to every team that was attending our qualifier to have them sign up for the “Lunch and Learn”. Through this event, we were able to include over 50 members and participants interested in FIRST Ladies.
On the day of the event, we had a greater turn out than we initially anticipated. We began the lunch by introducing our team members who were helping to run this event as well as the three women on the panel. They told stories of how they became involved in STEM, the impact STEM had on their lives, and their advice for young girls interested in STEM. Afterwards, we opened the floor to anyone who wanted to ask the panel questions. Through this, we were able to learn about the group attending. There were several questions, such as, “ How do I get my girl friends involved? How do we try to keep female members involved? What is the best way to recruit new female members?” After all of the questions were answered, we closed the discussion floor and allowed individuals to ask questions that weren't answered during the group discussion. Through this, we were able to speak with other members and coaches about how their team can encourage females to join FIRST. We particularly stressed how beneficial STEM is for girls because STEM creates good leaders who are more prepared for careers in the future. STEM holds an increasingly important role in today’s society and we believe that FIRST Ladies can make a profound impact on making females a pivotal part of that growth.
This blog was written by FRC Team 8002 The Knack. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule!
Be a guest
Do you want to be a guest blogger for FIRST Ladies? You can write about a topic of your choice! Please email us the completed blog and track your creation using this link: