Best of Systers, Community Voices

Robotics & High Schoolers

by Laurian Vega

The best thing related to computers that I or my parents could find when I was a teenager, awkward and crazy dorky, was programming classes. You know what would have been a whole lot better? Building robots. You know what would have been even better? An all-girl robot group!

It is no surprise to me that we have seen a recent rash of links about girls and robotics. We have national award winners, like Penelope Biggs and Anna Kornfield; all-girl award winning robot groups like the Antipodes, the Flying Monkeys, and the builders of Nemonoid; and, please, let us not forget about the crazy adorable Sylvia and her Arduino videos.

The number one reason that teenage girls (and younger) give for not going into computing is that they would rather do something that will help people and save lives. This is why robotics makes such a great field for girls to be involved in.  Robots are more than a pastime activity. We can send robots into deep mine shafts to look for oil, we can send robots into war zones to detect landmines, and we can use robots to help increase monitoring of patients in hospitals. Robots can be small enough to be injected and large enough to move buildings. Robot projects allow novice programmers to see a small amount of code that they write come to fruition and have an impact.  I am excited to see that robots are being used as a tool to get more young women excited about programming. The impacts and uses are endless.


  1. Pinkipawan Says:
    August 30th, 2012 at 4:39 pm eBob, I agree with you but I believe that the tioisrtnan from many specialized robots to one general purpose robot will be smooth and it will happen over time. I think it will happen in the same way that until a few years ago, we had one device for playing music, one for voice communication, and another for watching video. These days, we can buy one device that can do all three of these. I believe that the same will happen in robotics over the next 30-40 years starting from highly specialized ones in the next 10-15 years.