Coronado Middle School Robotics: Five Teams, One Family
By Brooke Clifford
I asked Lenert about the gender dynamics she sees with the robotics team, given the potential challenges around the still present biases of STEM as male-dominated fields. “Having girls in STEM is so important to me,” she told me. “This was our first year having an all-girls team and they went to State which was so exciting. There was one other team at State that was an all-girls team and they found each other immediately and were cheering each other on like crazy.
“It’s interesting, because a lot of times people will come in to observe our teams and use us as mentorship [for their programs] and the first thing they take note of is how many girls are in the room, and it’s fabulous,” Lenert continued. “Not only did we start with an all-girls team this year, but all the girls also have an opportunity to apply for the program BE WiSE (Better Education for Women in Science and Engineering) in seventh and eighth grade.”
BE WiSE is a lifelong program and provides students with free workshops, events, and mentorship opportunities at colleges around San Diego and the Fleet Science Center around different areas of STEM. “So far every girl on CMS Robotics that has applied has gotten in, and many kids do not get in – it’s a very hard program to get into,” Lenert noted. “It’s a huge opportunity for them and opens up so many avenues.