Girls on Teams going to Engineering

I hope some people can help me out with this.

For my women studies class, we were assigned an open ended mid term assignment, so I figured I’d talk about women going into engineering even though it’s historically been a male dominated career.

So I’d like to talk with the girls on FIRST teams and ask them some questions for statistics in my presentation.

  1. What made get involved in FIRST
  2. How long have you been involved in FIRST
  3. What college(s) did you apply to/get accepted to
  4. Are you planning on going into the engineering field why or why not?
  5. Also why do you think it’s important for women to go into engineering, and maybe share some personal experience working alongside engineers

I hope that by doing this I can open some peoples’ eyes to the mass influx of women into engineering.

Thanks in advance for all your help, and if I get enough information to put into my presentation, I’ll see if I can tape it and post it here for people to see.

  1. I got involved in FIRST because I had joined our school’s robotics team the semester before for a different competition (BEST). I then realized how much I enjoyed the robotics scene and I stayed on for FIRST. Unfortunately I don’t really remember why I joined BEST. I heard about robotics from a friend who was a senior and I think I discovered it through that.
  2. I’ve been competing in FIRST since 10th grade, but I hadn’t traveled with the team until 11th grade. I’m incredibly sad that today was the last time I’ll ever compete in our regional. I’m going to miss it so much next year.
  3. I applied to the biomedical engineering program at Georgia Tech and got in. I applied to the mechanical engineering program at Florida Institute of Tech and got it. And I applied to the microbiology program at UT at Austin and Texas A&M and I have yet to hear from UT and I got into A&M.
  4. It was really hard deciding what to do about my future. But I have settled on a degree in microbiology. I was really torn between bio and engineering, but I have settled on microbiology because that is where my deepest passions lie. I love engineering and FIRST and robots and building and scouting and CADing. I love robotics more than anything I’ve ever done in my entire life, but I also love microbiology and the study of living organisms. So it was pretty much a flip of the coin.
  5. Women should go into engineering because there are too many men in it. Women can add certain touches that a lot of guys (at least on my team) don’t think about (like making the robot really pretty). Women and men have very different ways of thinking, and by diversifying the field ideas that may not have been thought up or concepts that may not have been questions will be challenged. Because of this innovation will most definitely occur.
  1. What made get involved in FIRST
    After hearing one of the girls in my lane in Swimming team constantly rant about robots and competitions and cool things team 461 had done, I was extremely intrigued. Later that summer I spoke to Ryan Dognaux, now a very good friend of mine, who at the time gave me a really good intro to FIRST and encouraged me to join.

  2. How long have you been involved in FIRST
    This is my third year in the program

  3. What college(s) did you apply to/get accepted to
    Applied to: Yale, MIT, Stanford, Cornell, Northwestern, U Michigan & Purdue, accepted to: Purdue, U Michigan, Northwestern, and possibly Cornell (waitlist)

  4. Are you planning on going into the engineering field why or why not?
    I will be studying Biomedical & Chemical Engineering in college, but I want to go into either medical practice or medical research. However, I am open to the possibility of changing career choices, so I’m studying Engineering in college to leave that option open.

  5. Also why do you think it’s important for women to go into engineering, and maybe share some personal experience working alongside engineers
    Not too long ago, women were not allowed to be doctors, only nurses or assistants. The same can be said for just about any other field. Different people of every sort, regardless of gender, race, religion, etc, bring new viewpoints and experiences to the workforce. I’m not studying Engineering because I feel I have to empower my gender, I am studying engineering because it is a way to empower and challenge myself, which will in turn give me the honor and ability to empower and inspire others.

  1. What made get involved in FIRST
    I’d always had an interest in math and science. One of my friends in Model UN suggested I join, and it sounded interesting enough, so I did. Our team participated in OCCRA, so all of the design, pit work, and scouting with that gave me a mini-view into what FIRST was about.

  2. How long have you been involved in FIRST
    Four years - three years as a student, and this is my first as a mentor.

  3. What college(s) did you apply to/get accepted to
    University of Michigan - College of Engineering

  4. Are you planning on going into the engineering field why or why not?
    Yes, I’m planning on dual majoring in aerospace and mechanical engineering. FIRST showed me that I like analytical thinking, so I’m hoping to apply that to what I do. I’m also planning on working toward my MBA because of my experiences in FIRST.

  5. Also why do you think it’s important for women to go into engineering, and maybe share some personal experience working alongside engineers
    I like Genia’s answer for this one, so I’m gonna “Ditto” that :slight_smile:

  1. Well, this may sound a little selfish, but I was seriously jealous of Ricky Quinones for missing so much class when we took Honors Chem together (I was a freshman, he was a junior). I had missed the signup date as a freshman, but vowed to get involved as a sophomore. I had heard about the team in a number of other ways - namely presentations at my grade school (which was not part of the Oconomowoc school district, persay) and friends on the chess team that were also in robotics. Additionally, it was an outlet for all of the things that I had wanted to try like 3D animation and machining, but never really would have had a chance to do otherwise. I’ve stuck with it because it simply is an amazing program on all levels.

  2. This is my 3rd year - hopefully I’ll have time next year to volunteer at BMR and WI or maybe help out another Indiana team - time will tell.

3)I applied to: UW-Madison, Saint Mary’s (IN), Notre Dame, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Columbia (NYC)
I was accepted at: UW-Madison, Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame!!!, and waitlisted at Columbia (I have not heard from Yale yet, but Harvard and Stanford were both rejections)

4)I actually am not going to major in an engineering field. I plan on majoring in biology or microbiology and heading out to medical school after college. I am predicting that my robotics experience will come into play in medicine considering that many of the most recent developments have been in robotic surgery.

  1. I think that it is important for women to at least explore careers in engineering because (I hate do delve into the gender issue, but…) I think that they may have a different outlook on a problem than a man might. My oldest sister, a chem. engineer herself, stuck with engineering because it offered her problem-solving challenges that she may not have otherwise been faced with in a “normal desk job”.
  1. What made you get involved in FIRST
    My photography teacher is an advicer on the robotics team and he was trying to get girls in our class to join (funny when i think back on it), and i just up and decided to come to the meeting that night
  2. How long have you been involved in FIRST
    This is my second, and last as a student…i think i’ll come back as a mentor
  3. What college(s) did you apply to/get accepted to
    crazy, but i’m not going to college, i’m taking a year off and i might go next year, i’m not sure
  4. Are you planning on going into the engineering field why or why not?
    i’m not cause it’s not what i personally want to do, otherwise FIRST would have encouraged me to go into engineering
  5. Also why do you think it’s important for women to go into engineering, and maybe share some personal experience working alongside engineers
    it’s important cause there are girls who can do the same exact thing as a boy can, i.e. make a robot, and alot of those girls never get that chance to prove themselves
  1. What made get involved in FIRST
    My team started when I was a junior in high school. My physics teacher asked me if I wanted to “meet with some Ohio State engineers about doing some sort of engineering project.” I said, “Sure.” It’s been downhill ever since.

  2. How long have you been involved in FIRST
    Two years on a high school team, one year off, three years mentoring and volunteering.

  3. What college(s) did you apply to/get accepted to
    Applied to Olin College, MIT, CalTech, Case Western, Harvey Mudd College, and Ohio State. Got in to all of them. About to graduate from Olin College and head into industry.

  4. Are you planning on going into the engineering field why or why not?
    Yes, because I adore it. I want to keep doing robots. :slight_smile: Every time I have to give a presentation on a project I’ve done, I’m reminded of how much I love talking about what I’m doing, and that inspires me to keep going.

  5. Also why do you think it’s important for women to go into engineering, and maybe share some personal experience working alongside engineers.
    Women offer a different perspective on teams (and engineering is inherently team-based) – they suggest ideas differently, they make different connections between ideas, and so on. The diversity of perspective is important. It’s very important for design, too – there’s an all-male project team at my school doing a project for Motorola this year, and they’re using GPS-enabled cell phones. During a design review presentation, they talked about how they had trouble sometimes with good reception in their pockets, but how since most people wear phones on clips on their belts, it would be okay. One of the women sitting in on the presentation asked, “Will it work in my purse?” They had no answer – it hadn’t even occurred to them to think of it.

Personal experiences? Though my work experiences tend not to reflect this, my school (Olin College of Engineering) is about 50/50 male/female (intentionally). It’s great because you don’t notice women on teams, or not on teams, or whatever, because the population is pretty much exactly what you encounter in your life. It’s only when I leave to go work a job or whatever and I get treated as something weird that it bothers me. I got interviewed for a Wall Street Journal article last semester about my school being 50/50, and what I thought about that, and my answer was, it’s nice not being a novelty. The less someone points out how strange it is that I’m a woman who likes science and engineering, the happier I am.

  1. The robotics team came to my school in elementary school and I thought it was pretty awesome. Freshman year I couldn’t figure out how to join the team, sophomore year I didn’t have time to join the team but my best friend joined. Junior year I joined the team and it’s been the best part of my life.

  2. I have been on the Buzz Robotics team for 2 years and I hope to continue when I get to college. :slight_smile:

  3. Applied to and accepted to: Syracuse, Vanderbilt, University of Delaware, Penn State, UCONN, University of Vermont, West Virginia
    Waiting for: Duke Planning on going to Syracuse, but not quite sure.

  4. Before I joined the robotics team I had no plan on being an engineer. I discovered how exciting engineering is when I was on the robotics team. Now I am planning on being an electrical or Chemical engineer.

  5. Because it’s important for both woman and men to feel that they are welcome to have any career that they are willing to work hard enough to have. Women should not feel that engineering is a man’s field. Women do have a unique perspective to offer, everyone has a unique perspective to offer.

Well… I was on a FIRST team last year and now im in college, but I’ll answer your questions anyway. :slight_smile:

  1. What made get involved in FIRST
    Some of my guy friends told me it was a good time so I decided that I would try it out.

  2. How long have you been involved in FIRST
    I started my Junior year and was captain my senior year… I am still involved in volunteering this year. 3 total I guess. 2 years in high school.

  3. What college(s) did you apply to/get accepted to
    I got accepted to CMU, Syracuse, Lafayette, Rhode Island School of Design, RIT (with a FIRST scholarship), University of Rochester

  4. Are you planning on going into the engineering field why or why not?
    I am now studying Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. It was a decision for me between Engineering at CMU and art at RISD and I decided to go with the engineering. FIRST definitely changed me and got me to see that I really could go into an Engineering field. I want to be in a field where I can help make things that people can use.

  5. Also why do you think it’s important for women to go into engineering, and maybe share some personal experience working alongside engineers?
    I think its important for everyone to go in a field they enjoy and to tell other people how they got involved, so everyone ends up doing something they enjoy no matter what the statistics are say. Everyone should be assured that they can go into any career if they put a little effort in.

I am in college right now so I hope you can still use my answer…

  1. I joined FIRST because my friends were on the team and they bugged me to join forever and the mentor of my team was my physics teacher so I gave it a shot. I went down to the workshop and was able to help out right away and I knew that FIRST was something I wanted to do. I think it actually was what made me really consider engineering as a career field seriously.
  2. I was in FIRST for 3 years and it has been 2 years now since I graduated.
  3. I currently attend the University of Arizona (which by the way has an excellent engineering program and you can’t beat the weather!!).
  4. Yes, I am planning on going into the engineering field, particularly Aerospace and Mechanical engineering. I chose this path because I love to build things and I have always been fascinated by planes. Hopefully I will get a pilot slot in the USAF (fingers crossed) but if I don’t/after I get out of the AF, I want to design/build planes.
  5. I think that the question is not why should women be engineers, the question is why shouldn’t they be engineers! Now, I am not one of those people who think that there are no differences between men and women and that men and women are exactly the same, but when I applied to the college of engineering, I did it because I was genuinely interested in it and that it is exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. So, if engineering is someone’s passion, whether or not they are a guy or girl, then it’s a no-brainer. I do agree though with some earlier comments that men and women do think differently, I have noticed this during my short experience with engineering so far in college and even in high school. When it comes to something like physical strength and what not it’s clear that men are more capable of doing things like that, but when it comes to using your brain, men and women were made to work together. But I guess it is good that people start getting used to women in engineering because I know I have gotten comments about how it is going to be difficult being a woman in engineering and how people will treat me differently, and this was from an adult who knew what they were talking about. But I love it so far, even though it can be really hard at times…ok, at majority of the time.
  1. What made get involved in FIRST
    Meredith Rice told me to join, said I could come whenever I could, so I did. Then I fell in love :D.

  2. How long have you been involved in FIRST
    SInce my freshman year, so 3 years.

  3. What college(s) did you apply to/get accepted to
    I’m a junior, but I’m hoping to get into Franklin Olin.

  4. Are you planning on going into the engineering field why or why not?
    Yes, biomedical engineering. Why? Because it’s what I’m good at, and what I love doing.

  5. Also why do you think it’s important for women to go into engineering, and maybe share some personal experience working alongside engineers
    I think it’s important for anyone who’s good to go into engineering. Honestly, I don’t think it should matter if those people happen to be men or women.

  1. What made get involved in FIRST
    My engineering teacher is the lead mentor for our FIRST team in the tri-county area. He was recruiting girls for the team, and I’m loud and like to build stuff, so it worked.

  2. How long have you been involved in FIRST
    2 years

  3. What college(s) did you apply to/get accepted to
    UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore, County), St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Towson University and Salisbury University

  4. Are you planning on going into the engineering field why or why not?
    Yes- either chemical engineering or mechanical engineering because I know what I’m doing, and I know that I can have fun with it.

  5. Also why do you think it’s important for women to go into engineering, and maybe share some personal experience working alongside engineers
    Women, and everyone, should do what they want to do with their life. And if a woman wants to become involved in engineering, then she should go for it, not necessarily to overcome the obstacle that it is a male dominated field, but because she wants to do it. I hope that made sense.

  1. My best friend’s sisters were involved on Team #93, so when I got to high school I decided to join and see what it was all about! I remember the oldest sister used to be my babysitter … she came over one day, when I was in 5th grade, and was talking about this robot she was building at school, and how it’s name was TOBOR (“which is robot spelled backwards, see?!”) - she was so excited. :slight_smile:

  2. I was a high school student on Team #93 from 2001-2004, and I now mentor Team #857 (from 2006-2009, hopefully).

  3. I applied to MSOE, UW-Platteville, UW-Stout, UW-Fox Valley, UW-Waukesha, Purdue, and Michigan Tech. I was accepted to all of them and went to UW-Waukesha for a semester. Then MTU offered me the Academic Excellence Award (in state tuition) so I’ve been going to school there, ever since.

  4. Nope; it’s just not for me (and I’m terrible at math)! Originally, I was going for Wildlife Management, but after mentoring my FIRST team in college, I thought, “Working with high school kids is awesome!! I want to do this all that time! Hey - maybe I should be a teacher!!” So English Education (with a minor in Earth Science) it is.

  5. I think women - and men, for that matter - should pursue the career of their choice, whether that be women in engineering or men in fashion design! Forget what the statistics say, and what’s “typical” for each gender - go for what you want!

  1. I needed a ride home from basketball. My ride had to go to this robotics meeting so I tagged along. Once I had an idea of what they did I joined. I also knew a lot of the guys on the team.
  2. I was on the team for 2.5 years and now a mentor for 1 year.
  3. I am currently attending Milwaukee School of Engineering as a freshman.
  4. I am studying mechanical engineering. Without FIRST, I probably would have joined the miltary. Engineering seems like a good fit for me because I can still work with my hands while applying everything I have learned in class.
  5. It is important for all students to pursue engineering regardless of gender. Unfortnately, many people view the field as “something only guys can do” so a lot of girls shy away. By introducing women to engineering we show them that it isn’t just for guys and a ton of fun!
  1. My drafting teacher is our mentor, and my brother was on the team.
  2. 4 years
  3. University of Central Florida, University of North Florida
  4. I am planning on going into statistics, although I really don’t have a clue where I will end up. Originally I was not planning on going into engineering because of the math, but I am starting to rethink that.
  5. It is important for everyone to feel comfortable pursuing any career regardless of gender. Also, women do think differently and can help provide a valuable different perspective.
  1. Several of my friends were on the team and I saw how much fun they were having so I went to a couple meetings, went to a regional, and was hooked.
  2. This will be my fourth year. I’m currently a college freshman and am a mentor on the team my college sponsers.
  3. I’m attending Boston University, but I was also accepted to Case Western, UNH, Lehigh, Lafayette, and Skidmore.
  4. I’m a biological anthropology major. I love FIRST and engineering, but anthropology is a field I know I will enjoy studying more all the way around.
  5. We need more female engineers, especially on FIRST teams, to show girls that it really is a field they can get involved in if they want. It’s a field that you can definatley get a good job with, and many colleges are looking for female engineers.
  1. A long story. The worst thing that could happen to me at the time also brought me FIRST.
  2. 6 years
  3. Went to WPI on the Allaire Scholarship. Accepted to Northeastern, RIT, RPI, Clarkson, Georgia Tech and UCF
  4. Currently, I’m studying Mechanical Engineering. Initially I wanted to go into the design aspect, but as I go along I discovered I’m enjoying Materials and Manufacturing more.
  5. Because I hate going to certain classes and being one of three females in the class. In my smaller classes, this is always the case. There isn’t enough female engineers out there.
  1. The team leader, my physics teacher, and a friend from my classes on the team both encouraged that I joined at the end of my freshman year. I checked it out then and decided to jump on board my sophomore year.

  2. I was involved on team 433 my sophomore to senior year and I volunteered at Philly this year.

  3. I am currently a sophomore at the University of Delaware studying Chemical Engineering. They have a prestigious ChemE program there and I was awarded a $10,000 FIRST scholarship to UD. FIRST not only enabled me to receive this scholarship, but through the exposure to engineering, was the reason for my choosing to study engineering.

  4. I hope to use my engineering training in the pharmaceutical industry. I think the advantages an engineering degree provides toward your career are invaluable, especially for a woman looking to advance her career in a very competitive job world.

  5. I think many more women should be encouraged to consider engineering because it is a field, despite many stereotypes, in which they can excel that is currently mostly male dominated. The more women who follow this career path, counteracting the stereotypes, the better off every industry will be for the unique talents women can bring to the table. FIRST, in my experience and observation, is the BEST way to encourage women to explore this field and is probably the most effective organization currently “recruiting” women to engineering from high school. Whether a girl chooses to fill the role of cheerleader or PR representative over that of robot engineer does not lessen the impact of the exposure and opportunities provided to her through FIRST.

True that. I don’t really like having five girls in my major.