UC Berkeley’s FEMTech took over our Science classes today to introduce our students to robotics and coding.
Second year Cal students Alisha, Alara and Michelle are Computer Science, Data Science, and Mechanical Engineering majors respectively. They provide hands-on workshops for women and students underrepresented in the tech industry through Cal’s FEMTech club. FEMTech has been hosting free educational opportunities on the UC Berkeley campus for the past 5 years. Recently they decided to venture out into the community to donate their time to excite new interest in tech.
Through organized seminars, mentorship programs, training workshops, and networking events, FEMTech at Berkeley provides a supportive community for students of all majors and backgrounds to create meaningful connections with like-minded people.
Their goal is sparking new interest in robotics and coding and providing support for female and underrepresented students pursuing careers in the tech industry. On a mission to empower and inspire students, they took over our Science classes for a day. Here’s what happened.
FEMTech leaders gave each student a kit. It contained a battery box, the Arduino Uno, a motor shield, wires, a DC motor, and a USB cord. The FEMTech leaders talked about coding.
Although we may think of robots as being smart, they’re actually not.
They can’t do anything without code. Without code, the robot wouldn’t know how to behave. You have to define every variable in code. Where is the motor? How much should it have? How fast will the motor go? After the instruction, our students put their robots together and watched them come to life.
Alisha Mirapuri told them about all of the different uses of robotics and coding from complex surgical procedures to the Roomba.
She also confessed that when she was younger she felt intimidated by robotics and coding even though she was interested. “There weren’t a lot of options for people with no experience. Every class required some background knowledge that I just didn’t have. I felt left out.” Each leader echoed this sentiment.
They wished they’d been exposed to robotics and coding in high school.
It would have given them a leg up. That’s why FEMTech matters. It’s UC Berkeley’s first women-centric technology club with the aim of providing a hands-on introduction to learners who may not be otherwise exposed to tech and coding.
Mele Satini, head of our Math and Science Department, was thrilled:
“I am so happy to have FEMTech come to Bayhill and expose our students to robotics and coding while they are still in High School. Scientists I met as a young person changed the way I saw the world, and my place in it. There’s nothing more valuable than seeing people like you, doing things you never thought possible. I think we opened a lot of eyes today.”
Find out more FEMTech and how to get involved at femtechberkeley.com
Bayhill High School educates and empowers students with learning differences to succeed in high school, college and other post-secondary endeavors. Voted the Best Alternative Learning High School in the East Bay!