The multifaceted nature of BEST has a side effect that shatters stereotypes about engineering: Lane said about half the SCHE Robotics team is female. Even factoring in the division between team members who actually build the robots and team members who perform other tasks, he said about a quarter of the builders are female.
One of the team members, 14-year-old Angelica Maiers, writes the lab journal for the team, and she said the responsibility has taught her communication skills she never envisioned herself having before. She said she is not a robot builder herself, but her sister was.
“My older sister was involved in it the first year that SCHE had a BEST robotics team. When I went to the competitions with her, I saw what the robots had to do and the presentations the teams had to give and it looked really interesting, so when I was older, I joined too.
“A lot of girls don’t want to work with hammers and nails. A lot of them do … but a lot of us want to work on something else. I think BEST Robotics gives everyone a chance to show their own talent,” Maiers said.
2012 is the fourth year on the team for Maiers and for 16-year old Jessica Savage.
Savage said she joined the team after several of her friends who had joined it recommended it, and it has taught her to work with people she wouldn’t necessarily have worked with before. She said even those who do not build learn much about engineering by osmosis.
“You still gain a lot of the robot knowledge, but you’re publicizing it,” Savage said.
The leader of the team’s public relations division is 15-year-old Ryan Jeffries, who said he discovered the team at an SCHE Kickoff and joined the team four years ago.
“Frankly, before I did robotics, I had never thought of going into any engineering field,” Jeffries said. “Since then, I have seen all the different jobs it takes to create an engineering company. I’ve considered going into an engineering field such as engineering management since I joined.”
Lane said his favorite part of working with SCHE Robotics students is seeing the different gifts each child has and showing the children how to make their gifts work together.
“Individually, (each student) may not view it as important, but each student’s gift is vital to the team,” Lane said. “Watching the students start the program, perhaps a little overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do in six weeks, keep coming back each year, and eventually moving into leadership roles that they told me they would never do when they started their first year is what makes it enjoyable.”<< previous 1 2