Pearland ISD robotics team encourages girls to engage in STEM

PEARLAND, Texas (KTRK) -- The Pearland ISD Robotics team, Pearadox (FRC #5414), faced off against 400 of the best robotics teams in the world last month at the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship at the George R. Convention Center.

Pearadox is a team of over 60 high school students from Turner High School, Dawson High School and Pearland High School, who work with engineer mentors to learn about and work with robots and develop STEM skills. Building inclusivity and opportunity is important to Pearadox, which created a girl-led STEM group called Gearbox Girls.

"Gearbox Girls is a community on our team that our members created to inspire girls to feel creative, confident, and capable in STEM," said Isabella Theroff, a member of Gearbox Girls. "A lot of girls are kind of pushed away as they are not as represented in STEM. We want to show them that they are capable of this too, and that is something that is really important for us."

"They inspire students who maybe normally wouldn't be inspired to go into robotics, or go into a STEM field in general," said Dr. Jeffrey Myers, physics and engineering teacher at Turner High School. "Once they see students who are like them and are successful, it becomes contagious. Success breeds success."

Gearbox Girls have also created networking events like Girls Get Together, geared at introducing high school girls to female professionals in STEM, and Princesses with Power Tools, where high school girls teach younger girls how to use power tools and build confidence in STEM activities.

"I think it is important for younger students to have role models that they look up to and many of them are going to be more comfortable, if you're a girl, you can relate to a girl who's on the team," said Andrew Hartnett, the team's lead mentor.

Pearadox and the Gearbox Girls work with the non-profit FIRST, a global robotics company that engages hundreds of thousands of students across the world in mentor-based programs that build STEM skills. FIRST is partnering with Disney and Lucasfilm to bring more hands-on learning opportunities and mentorship to young students through its campaign "Build the Future: Powered by Star Wars Force for Change". In honor of May 4, which is National Star Wars Day, the Gearbox Girls spoke with ABC13 about their mission to get more girls involved in robotics and STEM!

For more information on Pearadox and the Gearbox Girls, click here.
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