Writing about her journey into the male-dominated STEM field for The Huffington Post, Dilainy Abreu says that although she was the only girl on her Rhode Island FIRST Robotics Competition team when she joined three years ago, she wasn’t discouraged as she “could do everything the boys were doing.”
Dilainy’s story – while surely impressive – is, sadly, not unique.
According to Whitehouse.gov, although women in STEM earn 33% more than women in non-STEM fields, and there is a lower wage gap between genders, women make up only 24% of the STEM workforce.
After her first year on the team – competing with all boys – Dilainy encouraged four of her female friends to join a team with her, and created the first-ever all girls robotics team for her school, aptly named The Rhody Girls.
The first season for The Rhody Girls saw them finishing in a respectable third place, but the following year – after reviewing some “game tape” and taking apart and rebuilding both their robots and the boys’ team robots to further educate themselves – The Rhody Girls became the first ever all-female team to win the Rhode Island FIRST Robotics Tech Challenge.
Following her successful career as a FIRST participant, Dilainy decided to further her interests in STEM by applying to – and being accepted in to – the Mechanical Engineering program at URI.
If you, or someone you know, is interested in joining FIRST Robotics, please contact Erin Flynn at 401-739-5000 X3462 or EFlynn@neit.edu.