STEM 13: Robots are for girls too

Updated: 07/11/2014 5:12 PM
Created: 07/11/2014 3:55 PM WNYT.com
By: WNYT Staff

School may be out for summer, but two local universities are making sure that kids who may not have access to technology have some fun with it, especially girls.

“When people say that I don't think that's true I think boys and girls can do the same thing,” says student Uniquea Thomas.

That's Uniquea Thomas taking offense to a belief out there that girls aren't as smart as boys when it comes to science and technology.

Here at the Robotics Clinic at the Howe Library in Albany, she is joined by about a dozen girls getting up close and personal with robots.

The mini clinic is sponsored by Union College and UAlbany through the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

They know that girls are just as smart as boys, but also know they may not always take classes that focus on STEM-- science, technology, engineering and math.

“We got the money from NCWIT to buy materials and go into schools and community centers and help girls in particular,” says Nick Webb, visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Union College.

In fact, this is Uniquea’s first time at a clinic like this.

“I'm usually not use to doing this I’m trying to get this to do that and learn how to program it,” she says.

Keturah Lawson has taken a technology course before and loves this clinic.

“The most fun is programming the robot and stuff like that,” says Lawson.

”The age that we're in by the time they're an adult or working-it will be working alongside a robot or collaborating in some way,” says Prof. Webb.

They don't exclude boys from attending. A few showed up.

“You have to go step by step...program it on to the computer,” says student Cheron Graham.

Shareem Carney also showed up, bringing with him a mini Lego figure in his pocket.

“I'm actually the owner of a lot of Legos,” he says.

With them he's built lots of things.

“I built a lot of things like a skyscraper, a small drone and a one armed robot with a cape.”

But he’s having so much fun here. His new favorite thing is to try programming more robots.

”Turn away from the mini figures and let's try robots,” says Carney

For the girls it's been decided they want to build girl robots and know what they would program them to do.

“Clean up my room,” says one.

“Do my chores and clean my room,” says the other.


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