On the 2nd August 2021, Nordic Women in STEM (NWiSTEM) got to host a robotics workshop at an event organised by High5Girls in collaboration with New Nordic Youth – a school for design and entrepreneurship. The event was a 3-days camp from the 1st August 2021 – 3rd August 2021, the main aim was for the girls to establish a smoothie café. There were 12 participants, 4 groups of 3 were made. The event consisted of 3 main areas, and each girl in the group was responsible for one. The girls were given the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of starting a smoothie café: deciding the menu, creating a personalised logo, making a website and to training waiters.
The event started off with an overall introduction to the 3-day camp, where the girls got to meet their group members and in co-operation decide the future of their café. On the second day, the day began with morning yoga followed by some yummy breakfast. After breakfast, the girls were given the task to start thinking about the theme of the café and come up with ideas for how they would like their café to be. After deciding on the overall theme, 3 different workshops began where a girl from each group was present.
I, Neha Imtiaz Ullah from NWiSTEM was responsible for the robot workshop along with Mette Rehfeld Meltinis from High5Girls. The robots were supposed to mimic the roles of waiters in a café. This allowed the girls to see how robots can become a part of a real-life situation, and how useful such technology can be. The robots used were created by Shape Robotics. There were 2 kinds of robots, one was a robot arm and other a robot which could travel around the place. Due to the time constraint, only the robot which could go around the room was used, Fable Spin. As preparation, I had written some codes beforehand in the program Fable Blockly, which I used to introduce the robots to the girls. In the introduction, I went through some codes with the girls where they copied what I did and when they got more comfortable with the program, they were given the chance to code the robots themselves with mine and Mette’s help. Below, you can see a clip of when I was explaining one of the codes to the girls. This code allows the robot to be controlled by light, and in the café, this could be useful if on a table 1 specific person needs help, then they can use the torch on their phone to call the waiter:
Along with hosting the robotics workshop, I was invited to present my STEM story and tell how I got into electrical engineering, what exactly electrical engineering is, and how it is to study in the field at Denmark’s Technical University. During my presentation, it was of uttermost importance to me to present myself in a way that felt relatable to the girls. I also got to introduce NWiSTEM and the work we do to encourage girls and how this organisation came into being. I hoped to deliver a message that conveyed the girls of their importance, and how much they are needed in the STEM world.
It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of such an incredible event. It is not a hidden fact that girls are missing within STEM, and there is only one way of changing that and that is by encouraging girls to join STEM. There are many ways of doing so, but getting girls to do hands-on activities definitely leaves an ever-lasting impact. It is the first step of making girls believe that they CAN do it all. I am glad to be doing my small part in trying to eliminate the stereotypes, gender bias and discrimination that hold women and girls back from fulfilling their dreams. The best part of the event for me was when we were programming the robots, the girls felt so confident and had many amazing ideas regarding what they wanted the robots to do. It was great seeing the girls being creative and trying many different things and learning through trial and error.
Lastly, I would like to give a special thanks to the team behind High5Girls: Marianne, Mette and Josephine. These are the women behind the amazing initiative, where they give girls the opportunity to try different STEM concepts with an entrepreneurial mindset. I look forward to collaborating with High5Girls more in the future.