Robotics Team Empowers Girls Here And Abroad

By Jacqueline Lee
Palo Alto Daily News, Calif.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Students from the Castilleja School in Palo Alto are inspiring students from China through and exchange program which focuses on empowering women in tech. This is the fourth year a Shanghai school has sent students to Castilleja to learn more about how the school inspires interest in science and technology. The school, which relies on strong mentorship among peers as well as from teachers, alumni and working engineers, has been enormously successful in getting girls involved in robotics. 

Palo Alto Daily News, Calif.

Helen Jiang and five other students from Shanghai watched as the Castilleja School robotics team hurriedly wheeled their robot to the pit, eager to fix a wheel base that popped out of alignment in the last bout.

Moments earlier, drivers from the all-girls “Gatorbotics” team navigated their robot through obstacles in a medieval-themed arena to lob balls into towers.

The match on Saturday was part of a high school robotics competition in San Jose. Castilleja ultimately ranked in the middle of 60-odd teams in the international competition.

But to Jiang, the event was less about winning than just having a chance to compete.

“I want our school to start some classes or clubs about robotics, so girls at my school also have a chance at this,” Jiang said.

Jiang said her primary school in China had programs where students could build basic robots, but acknowledged that the funding and materials needed for higher levels of competition is hard to come by in China.

Yang Zhijun, a physics teacher from Shanghai No. 3 Girls School accompanying the group of six students visiting Castilleja this week, said the Shanghai school wants to establish a program in the next two years. Each year, educators and students get a better sense of what skills and resources are needed to establish a robotics program, she said.

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