All I heard was, “Three… two… one… drivers, drop your controllers,” followed by a ceaseless sound of a blaring horn marking the end of our finals robotics match. We had lost. It was with a deep feeling of remorse that I looked at my teammates and let out a prolonged sigh. But this moment of defeat meant much more to me than losing a robotics competition.
At only 14, I had already been exposed to the backhand comments of boys in my program who felt I was lesser than them. I wanted to prove them wrong and show them that girls could do robotics too, but losing this match felt like I had played into their negative beliefs.
A love for STEM
At times like this, it felt impossible to advance in robotics, a field I had found so much passion and love for. My realization that I was born a left-brained thinker is what stopped me from giving up. I like logic,facts, and simplicity. It’s the reason I love STEM. Everything surrounding it has a foundation firmly grounded in reality.
Some people are born wanting to be artists or musicians, but I was born with a craving to find solutions to problems. That “aha!” moment provides the same rush to my body as does caffeine. From what I have come to learn, the life of an engineer is filled with a plethora of these “aha!” moments. It was this exact motivation that urged me to never give up my commitment to STEM and beyond.
Keeping up the fight
Since that initial loss, I’ve competed at quite a few more robotics matches. I’m currently the co-captain of a team called Prototype G. This year, Prototype G won the Inspire Award at the first Tech Challenge Regional Qualifier, competing against some of the same students who had earlier doubted our abilities to win. The coolest part? Prototype G is an all-female team.
I’m so glad that I didn’t let one defeat keep me from pursuing my passion for robotics. If you are interested in finding robotics or other STEM resources near you, be sure to follow @Girls.Collaborative on Instagram.