KALISPELL, Mont. — RoboScout Squad, an all-girls robotics team in Kalispell won a NASA competition in July. At the beginning of November, they were rewarded with a trip to the Kennedy Space Center and NASA facilities in Florida.
They were given the VIP treatment -- the team met two doctors and launch director Charlie Blackwell Thompson.
RoboScout Squad was one of two middle school groups in the United States to earn a trip this year.
Prior to the preparing for the competition none of the girls had flown a drone.
“The pilots were flying blind, and they couldn’t see the robot, so they had to rely on the teammate to say the robot needs to do this, ‘The robot need to do that, the drone needs to go here, the drone needs to go there,’” RoboScout Squad member Krista Nunally said.
According to the National Collaborative Project, women make up half of the workforce, but just 28% work in the STEM-related fields.
Nunnally says girls start to lose interest at about fifth grade.
“Programs like this are important to help keep girls engaged and help them to learn and know that women can be in these fields and can be successful,” Nunnally said.
“I just want to encourage more and more girls to do it, because it is a lot of fun,” RoboScout Squad member Lexi Nunnally said.
“I know that there’s still a few men now that are like, ‘Oh, women shouldn’t do this, women can’t do this,’” RoboScout Squad member Katie Eberhardy said
The team has been back from their trip for a couple weeks, but the work doesn’t stop. They’re preparing for two upcoming competitions.