Women In STEM

Here on team 1711 The RAPTORS, we recognize and emphasize the importance of women in STEM. We have a female captain, as well as leads of the Mechanical, Programming and Controls, Safety, Media, and Communications sub teams. We also have at least one female member participating in every part of our team. We try to inspire younger girls to join our team and this field, as well as help push our own women towards realizing their aspirations. Team 1711 values and respect all the women on our team, other FRC Teams, and in any STEM field and beyond. But instead of telling you what this team and discipline mean, we asked some women from our team to tell you for us. 

Erin Huls, Captain (2017)

What does being a woman in STEM mean to you?

It's really meaningful to be able to inspire young girls to pursue their interests in the field of STEM. I love being able to show them that anything is possible and they can do whatever they are passionate about as well as, if not better than, men. As captain, I work to encourage the women on our team to try new things in the field of STEM. Whether it be from media to mechanical or mechanical to programming, I encourage everyone to branch off and explore new fields. No one knows what they are interested in if they don't try it and these girls deserve every opportunity  to discover whatever that is within STEM without pressure, obstacles, and prejudices.

Tess Mello, Mechanical Lead

How has being a woman in STEM affected your life?

Being a woman in stem, and specifically in an environment that actively supports and promotes women in stem, has given me confidence in my ability to lead, create, and innovate. I'm very used to being the only girl in the room in many of my extracurriculars, but when I got to FIRST robotics, I was amazed to see girls at every level: mentors, team leaders, judges and volunteers and competitions, and women in technical and nontechnical roles on teams and at competitions. It was inspiring. Seeing so many opportunities in my future, unrestricted by gender, pushed me to improve myself: I taught myself how to CAD and 3D print, I joined pit crew my freshmen year, and the very next year, I was mechanical lead. Being a woman in stem allowed me to realize my own potential and expand my horizons, preparing me for a future in stem. 

Ally Brown, Media and Communications Lead (2018)

Why did you choose to enter the field of STEM?

My mother is a doctor so I grew up in a house where being a woman in STEM was nothing out of the ordinary. By the time I was old enough to realize that there was a level of stigma against this, I was already set that I wanted to go into this field and never understood why there was ever any question about going in as a woman. This stigma is definitely getting less and less prominent but it is definitely still there and that needs to be changed. I think having positive female role models, especially in this field, is extremely important and I really try to be that for the younger members of our team and really anyone considering STEM.

Abigail Fox, Programming and Controls Lead

How has being a woman in FIRST Robotics affected you?

Before I joined FIRST robotics, I had never used a tool or written a line of code. When I joined the team, our team had lots of strong female leadership, which was really inspiring and motivating to me. I feel like women are very underrepresented in STEM fields, but being a woman in FIRST has shown me that STEM fields can only benefit from the addition of the viewpoints and work of women.

Paige McDowell, Mechanical

How do you feel being a woman in FIRST has impacted your life?

Before I went into robotics, I didn't have any interest in any tech or anything in the STEM field. If not for VEX in middle school and FIRST in high school, I never would have realized how much I enjoy these fields. It was because of these programs that I applied to (and got into) into Sci-Ma-Tech so it really has shaped my life in school and out. Being a girl in a place like this, especially at a young age in middle school, really shaped me and let me realize I can pretty much do anything, and it has opened me up to so many opportunities, experiences, and new female role models within our team that show me women can be whatever they want to be. It's pretty inspiring. 

Isabelle McGuire, Captain (2018)

How has STEM allowed you to become the woman you are today?

Being in FIRST robotics has allowed me to find my passions and what I would like to possibly do later on in life. It also has given me a leadership role, allowing me to gain skills that are applicable later on in life. Being on a FIRST robotics team is what pushed me to join the early college program. Now not only will I graduate with my high school diploma, I will also receive an associate degree in applied science. Through this program I have realized that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.