Story

March 5, 2020

High School Girls Flexing Power in Male Dominated Industry

From Marie Curie’s discoveries about radiation to the late Katherine Johnson’s complex calculations that sent astronauts to the moon in 1969, women have been responsible for among the most important scientific breakthroughs that shaped the modern world.

Often, their stories aren’t just about the difficulties they faced in solving the toughest problems in science, many also overcame social and professional obstacles simply due to their gender. And those obstacles still face many women working and studying in science today.

Stereotypes and discrimination aren’t stopping a group of KIPP Austin Collegiate High School girls from breaking barriers and levelling the playing field in the computer science industry.

The students are one of only two all-female robotics teams in the greater Austin area and the only minority female team.  They’re working for an opportunity to compete at the FIRST Championship robotics competition in Houston next month. The event pits teams of students from around the world in a timed competition to raise funds, design a brand, and build and program robots. 

“Thanks to this opportunity, there are now female students on our teams who want to pursue a career in a STEM field, some who may have never thought about it before this experience,” said George Ramirez III, KIPP Austin Collegiate AP computer science, engineering and design teacher and Robotics Team Head Coach.

Ramirez was excited to find that female students who are not on a team now want to join the team. “This group of girls have opened the doors for others to follow, without fear of lack of experience or other barriers that would have kept them away at first.” 

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