RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, females are underrepresented when it comes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the classroom and the work force in the United States.
While women receive more than half of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the biological sciences, they receive just 18 percent in computer sciences, 19 percent in engineering and 19 percent in physics.
But a group of Girl Scouts is showing the world the field of science and technology isn’t just for the boys.
The weekend of March 18 through 21, the North Carolina regional tournament for the FIRST Robotics Competition took place at Dorton Arena. There, the all-girls team from Raleigh called the Gadget Girls constructed a robot designed to pick up recycle bins.
The young ladies, who are all members of the North Carolina Coastal Pines chapter of the Girl Scouts, competed against 54 other teams from around the state. They said the competition was an opportunity to show everyone women can love and excel at science.
“We are here because we are girls interested in STEM and we’re here to show that girls can do it too,” said Julian Serpe Jr., who attends Wake Forest High School.
Over a six-week design period that began in January, the 2015 Gadget Girls team conceptualized, designed, built and programmed their “Cookie Monster” robot.
The team finished 46th out of 55, and they plan on competing again next year.
The Gadget Girls say the best part was being exposed to science and technology careers.
“There are not a lot of females within the engineering profession,” said team mentor Jenna Joestgen. “I myself went to college and graduated in 2010. I looked around and there were maybe five to 10 percent of females in those classes.”