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Worcester Girl Scouts Build Robots at Quinsigamond Community College

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

 

Central MA Girl Scouts got to build robots and learn about careers in the STEM fields on Saturday, courtesy of Quinsigamond Community College.

Saturday, February 1 found Quinsigamond Community College providing ten Central MA Girl Scout troops with the opportunity for a hands-on learning experience in the high technology field of robotics. Girl Scout troops from Holyoke, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Rutland, Gardner, Holden, Jefferson and Clinton participated in the first day of a two-day workshop learning to build robots as well as learning about the importance of girls in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.

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.

Building futures

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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Worcester Technical High

AP Courses Offered: 3

AP Pass Rate: 15%
Inexperienced Teachers: 15%

Students Who ...
Get Free/Reduced Lunch: 59%
Take At Least One AP Course: 6%
Participate in Sports: 19%

ProPublica analysis

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Univ. Park Campus School

AP Courses Offered: 4

AP Pass Rate: 21%
Inexperienced Teachers: 6%

Students Who ...
Get Free/Reduced Lunch: 76%
Take At Least One AP Course: 22%
Participate in Sports: 56%

*University Park Campus School includes the 7th and 8th grades.

ProPublica analysis

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Claremont Academy

AP Courses Offered: 5

AP Pass Rate: 14%
Inexperienced Teachers: 16%

Students Who ...
Get Free/Reduced Lunch: 94%
Take At Least One AP Course: 16%
Participate in Sports: 18%

*Claremont Academy includes the 7th and 8th grades. 

ProPublica analysis

Prev Next

Burncoat Senior High

AP Courses Offered: 10

AP Pass Rate: 42%
Inexperienced Teachers: 16%

Students Who …
Get Free/Reduced Lunch: 56%
Take At Least One AP Course: 20%
Participate in Sports: 34%

ProPublica analysis

Prev Next

North High

AP Courses Offered: 11

AP Pass Rate: 23%
Inexperienced Teachers: 5%

Students Who …
Get Free/Reduced Lunch: 75%
Take At Least One AP Couse: 13%
Participate in Sports: 25%

ProPublica analysis

Prev Next

Doherty Memorial High

AP Courses Offered: 11

AP Pass Rate: 38%
Inexperienced Teachers: 14%

Students Who …
Get Free/Reduced Lunch: 47%
Take At Least One AP Course: 15%
Participate in Sports: 43%

ProPublica analysis

Prev Next

South High Community

AP Courses Offered: 14

AP Pass Rate: 26%
Inexperienced Teachers: 13%

Students Who …
Get Free/Reduced Lunch: 73%
Take At Least One AP Course: 28%
Participate in Sports: 28%

ProPublica analysis

Prev Next

Worcester School District

Avg. AP Courses Offered: 10

AP Pass Rate: 30%
Inexperienced Teachers: 13%

Students Who …
Get Free/Reduced Lunch: 66%
Take At Least One AP Course: 16%
In A Gifted/Talented Program: 10%

ProPublica analysis

Prev Next

Massachusetts

Avg. AP Courses Offered: 10

AP Pass Rate: 64%
Inexperienced Teachers: 12%

Students Who …
Get Free/Reduced Lunch: 35%
Take At Least One AP Course: 15%
In A Gifted/Talented Program: 9%

ProPublica analysis

 
 

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