Placing herself FIRST: one teen’s expertise on an all-gender robotics group
Coding and Robotics

Placing herself FIRST: one teen’s expertise on an all-gender robotics group

STEM profession fields — science, expertise, engineering, and math — are historically male-dominated. However in FIRST robotics, Interlake Excessive College senior Aparna Srinivasan finds group and belonging, regardless of the underrepresentation of ladies of shade in robotics.

RadioActive‘s Evelyn Jiang interviewed Aparna about her expertise.

[RadioActive Youth Media is KUOW’s radio journalism and audio storytelling program for young people. This story was entirely youth-produced, from the writing to the audio editing.]

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parna Srinivasan first joined a robotics group the summer time earlier than sixth grade. It was an all-girls group. Then, in highschool, she joined FIRST, her college’s all-gender robotics group.

“It was very intimidating as a result of there have been nearly no ladies on the engineering sub-team of robotics,” Aparna mentioned. “And to not say that no person was welcoming, however I simply felt like there was no place for me there.”

Aparna mentioned a few of her mates, who have been additionally younger ladies in robotics, had comparable emotions.

“It is not like an outright, blatant, ‘You may’t do that,'” she mentioned. “However I felt type of a distance, or an incapability to affix in on some issues.”

However since becoming a member of, Aparna has been capable of finding a way of group in FIRST. The group pushes values corresponding to “gracious professionalism,” which inspires competing groups to collaborate off the sector and develop collectively. Aparna mentioned this has created a really welcoming group, even at competitions.

caption: The 2021-2022 season of the Interlake High School Saints Robotics team. Aparna is in the back row, farthest to the right.

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I really feel like as a lady in STEM, I can sense that generally I make the opposite ladies on the robotics group really feel a bit bit extra protected and welcome.
APARNA SRINIVASAN

Aparna has racked up a prolonged listing of accomplishments, like serving to her group win awards and growing efforts towards security. She volunteers to show youthful college students in robotics and has additionally executed loads of work to enhance alternatives for different ladies and femmes in STEM.

“I really feel like, as a lady in STEM, I can sense that generally I make the opposite ladies on the robotics group really feel a bit bit extra like protected and welcome,” she mentioned. “As a result of once more, it is type of intimidating going into like a group that is majority, like, random guys.”

Now, Aparna mentioned, the coed leaders of her highschool robotics group are principally a part of STEM’s “gender minority,” together with ladies, transgender, non-binary, and/or gender non-confirming college students. The leaders are additionally principally college students of shade.

Aparna mentioned she gained invaluable expertise with coding by FIRST, and she or he plans to proceed pursuing engineering on the College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Since this story was produced, Aparna has began a Bachelor of Engineering program on the College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

This story was produced in a RadioActive Youth Media one-week Intro to Radio Storytelling workshop for prime school-age youth. Manufacturing help by Iz Ortiz and Lily Turner. Ready for the net by Charlotte Engrav.

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