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The Stories of The Mechanicats, an All-Girls Robotics Team at Woodrow Wilson High School [+VIDEO]



Skylar Linker, Computer Aided Design / Manufacturing Leader:


Being a woman in STEM was not what I originally thought it was going to be. I expected it to be insanely hard and challenging. Although, I had to learn how to CAD through YouTube videos due to the sparse resources of the team, that’s about as hard as it got. I expected to have to constantly prove myself, but thankfully, due to the professionalism and humanity of the team, I was welcomed with open arms. This isn’t to say that everything was lessened or “dumbed down” for the girls on our team, but rather we were taught with dignity and humility.


Joining robotics and entering STEM in high school has greatly impacted me in terms of growth and aptitude. I have gained impeccable Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) skills via Autodesk and AutoCAD programs.

I have also gained skills that lead to outside the world of STEM, such as diplomacy, creativity, and adaptability. I am extremely grateful to my team and my mentors for providing me with these skills.

If I said I joined robotics because it thoroughly interested me, I would be lying. This isn't to say that I have absolutely no interest in robotics or that I have not appreciated the experiences I have gained, but I don’t think I would’ve joined robotics if I hadn’t gotten an extra “push” from other people, a/k/a my mom. My first year of robotics was extremely boring because, as one of the few girl members on the team, I was forced to be a part of the notebook team and merely document rather than interacting with the robot. It wasn’t until my freshman year that I realized how “cool” and grateful I was be part of such an amazing and extensive robotics team, and, where, I essentially started my passion for

engineering.


Grace Winkleman, Development & Fabrication Leader:


Ever since I was a child I was constantly surrounded with properties of STEM with everything I did. Having everything be a part of STEM isn’t a challenge. Even as a female I still refuse to be discouraged in a STEM environment, I could even say it motivates me to push deeper into all sciences.

My mother, an avid cook, spends three times a day mixing and conforming different liquids and solids into one combination that meets the standards of not only here family but her own. Whether you agree or not, I see cooking a as very important form of chemistry.

My father has been introducing me to different practices of engineering from mechanical to chemical starting at the young age of so-early-I-can’t-even-remember years old. “Everything you do in life involves you selling your product, idea, and you” is was he would tell me as motivation to do my absolute best in what I wanted to do. Ever since I was old enough to remember he would sit right in our kitchen mixing and processing chemicals to sell for Hall Technologies. When I began to grow older my father would have me help him with his work. This and him involving me with his mechanical work on his cars brought me even closer to my engineering future.


Taylor Vu, Captain:


As a woman in STEM, I have learned about the significance of STEM occupations in the workforce by experiencing them through robotics and engineering classes at Woodrow Wilson High School. Being a woman in STEM opens many opportunities for scholarships and allows hands-one experience to prepare me for my STEM career.

Throughout my years of taking engineering classes, I have developed a better perspective of the world of STEM and gained a larger understanding of what’s to come in the future.

I originally got involved with STEM because of my genuine interest in mathematics and furthered that passion into robotics. My involvement in robotics and STEM will help me solve global problems in the future for when I graduate from high school.




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