Robotics competition aims to lead girls to STEM careers

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) – A robotics competition aims to encourage girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

The teams spent Saturday competing at Wyoming High School in the Grand Rapids Girls Robotics Competition.

Abby Strait was a team captain and said she learned a lot about robot design and possible careers through the program.

“This is a great opportunity, especially for later life,” Strait said.

Sarah Shapin, another team captain, said the program combines friendly competition with learning new skills.

“Instead of hating your enemy, you befriend them and talk to them and have a good time. You work with them and learn from each other, and then you can bring those skills to the technical field,” Shapin said.

As an added bonus for participants, four $750 scholarships will be awarded. The girls-focused competition began in 2016, according to Wendy Ljungren, an organizer of the event.

“Together with several other women at GE Aviation we were looking for a way to encourage girls in STEM and we were all involved with FIRST Robotics and we had heard that there were teams running competitions for girls all over the country a way to get them to think, ‘Hey, I can do this,'” Ljungren said.

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Event organizers say a girls’ event provides encouragement and additional opportunities where girls can be at the wheel and lead the team.

“You’re a great fit for college with the first robotics program where you learn the skills that will make your freshman year a lot easier, especially if you’re entering a STEM field that the country really needs,” Ljungren said .

More information about the program can be found at Contest Website. Robotics competition aims to lead girls to STEM careers

Dais Johnston

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