Worcester Girl Scouts Build Robots at Quinsigamond Community College
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
The eleven- and twelve year-old girls followed the Girl Scout policy of “Girls Leading Girls” with QCC’s Coordinator of the Computer Systems Engineering Technology Program, Professor Betty Lauer. Lauer led a discussion on STEM and engineering careers, STEM programming at QCC, and specific robotics engineering, as well as guiding the troops through multiple steps of the robot building process.
The scouts were enthusiastic about the opportunity. “This is really fun,” they said, comparing the robotics technology to “extreme Legos.”
A grant from Intel (also a supporter of QCC's Summer Technology Academy for girls) and Robotics Education and Competition Foundation (RECF) provided $1,000 robotics education kits to each troop. The finished robots will be finished this Saturday, February 8 and will be used in an organized Robotics Scrimmage at QCC on with over 80 teams scheduled to participate.
QCC has enjoyed great success building a pipeline of students interested in STEM by providing opportunities for K-12 Worcester public school students to participate in robotics technology programs. This latest workshop was directed at exclusively at girls in order to build awareness of the many rewarding and lucrative opportunities available to women in STEM fields.
QCC’s Robotics program, pioneered and facilitated by Professor Lauer, is currently in its 11th year and is one of the largest robotics consortiums in the United States. Students in the program gain expertise in robotics at an advanced level and many who participate as high school students have become very successful QCC students, later transferring to notable 4-year colleges and universities. While at QCC, they are able to participate in college-level competitive robotics and have also gone on to compete in the college division of the VEX World Championship Competition. (2013’s World Champion High School Team from Worcester Technical High School was advised by Professor Lauer.)
Related Slideshow: AP Opportunities at Worcester’s High Schools
According to ProPublica, studies have shown that students who take advanced classes have increased chances of attending and finishing college. However, with the number of advanced placement (AP) courses offered at Worcester's public high schools varying significantly, not every student is given the same chance. The slides, below, show the Worcester public high schools whose students have the most and least AP opportunities to help them get into - and graduate from - college.
The below data were collected from the Civil Rights Data Set, released by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Right, and refers to the 2009-10 school year. The data were analyzed by ProPublica.
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