Building an Environment Where Women Can Thrive in FIRST

So you MIGHT read the title of this post and think, “I’m a dude, there’s nothing I can do to support building an environment in FIRST where women can thrive, I won’t be able to help.” - Well, THAT my dear Chief Delphi reader, is where you are wrong!

The good news is you CAN help me. And honestly, I need that help… I need this whole communities help, and here’s why:

You know young women who are FIRST alumni or current mentors that are strong leaders who are looking for, or who can give, advice on how to navigate college, career, mentoring, and beyond.

And I need you to pass this information along.

I’d like to invite the FIRST women you know (whom are over the age of 18) to join this Facebook group so they can ask questions, network, and share advice to people that could really use it.

Or you can introduce me to them so I can pass the info along, what ever floats your boat.

FIRST Female Leaders for Alumni & Mentor Empowerment (FLAME), is building an environment where women can thrive in FIRST. Our first event is a Trivia night, taking place on Saturday, January 16th at 6pm ET - with a bonus technical discussion on Human Centered Design and its application to the Innovation Challenge this year. If you see this too late or can’t make it - NO WORRIES! We’ll have more virtual events - like technical speakers, networking opportunities, etc. - as we start building out and implementing a strategic plan (and fingers crossed for in-person opportunities sometime in 2021?).

For those who know me, and the work I do in Indiana / beyond, you may be aware of some of the out-of-the-box bonus activities you’ll find at our FIN events. Such as:

  • Reading STEM children’s books to kids over the lunch hour during a District Event

  • Creating family rooms for parents to calm crying babies or change diapers

  • Inviting future STEM teachers who are currently in college to write STEM-focused Curriculum for K-3rd graders to run our State Championship as a way to engage the young children of mentors and volunteers during events (and then the college student got it published in the Technology and Engineering Teaching (TET) journal and was on the front cover with an FRC robot- AMAZING).

  • Holding space and facilitating #FIRSTLikeAGirl Roundtables (and others like LGBTQ+ of FIRST) to give students an opportunity to network with their peers.

And those who know me also know that when I’m involved in the creation of a new project or program the thought behind it is intentional, strategic, and has a clear Why.

So, similar to the way I’ve needed our male allies to just drive the bus to get the young women on your team to an all girls FRC event… please, just pass along this information.

All the Best,

Renee Becker-Blau (RBB)

PS - I am well aware that in order to create an environment where women can thrive in FIRST I also need male allies who believe in that vision. Great News! We’re working on that - if you’d like to hear more when the time comes, let me know.

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It has been passed on to some of our mentors/alumae - sounds like a great effort!

Well I’ve already sent one of my best to you. But I’ll pass it along to some others.

Keep up the good work!

Yes, please continue to send your best. I’ve adored my meetings with Michae when I’m on the Purdue campus! :grin:

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I am with FRC Team 7160. Girls in robotics…

Our head coach and assistant coach are both female educators.

We have a female alumni,mechanical mentor who last year was our lead driver to our first ever blue banner.

Our lead marketing mentor is female.

We have females involved in every easiest if our team.

I’ll let them all know about your Facebook group.

@Cary - Thank you for passing this along! We look forward to seeing the group grow. As we build out the strategic plan for the group we will share more information on Chief Delphi so the FIRST Community can see what direction we’re heading and where there are more places for engagement and support!

In reading over this thread, has anyone had any questions or concerns come up?

Best,

RBB

This is pretty neat . I like how you are not just focusing on inclusion alone but also building infrastructure for women to participate. This is an important step I think. I will be 18 in 2 months and will try to join the group then. :slight_smile:

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