by Mehakdeep Khela, FRC Team 6387 — Discobots Canada
On Saturday, May 28, 2017, FIRST Canada held a weekend for girls in FIRST. This weekend outlined struggles that girls face in the STEM fields and how to cope with these challenges. This weekend really helped me personally become stronger, realize my potential, and grow more resilient. There were many guest speakers that shared their struggles and how they overcame them. One guest speaker, Kathleen Taylor (Chair of RBC), spoke about her personal story of standing up for herself in the corporate world. Just like Kathleen, a lot of guest speakers shared their life experiences, struggles, and ways to cope.
The guest speakers really helped me connect with people in STEM industries. It was an eye-opener about what an amazing industry STEM is. Doing robotics provides such a brilliant future for students like us and a future that we are passionate and excited about. Seeing the number of women in different companies doing what they loved really showed how much we have to look forward to. The guest speakers did an amazing job of communicating an important and educational message.
Alongside the guest speakers, there were a lot of group activities. Each group did various team building and collaborative games. My personal favourite was when each group had to solve various puzzles. These team building exercises really helped everyone get to know each other and learn about their strengths and weaknesses.
This event changed my perspective in many ways. First of all, the speakers opened my mind to the fact that women can be left out and every day we need to push harder to present ourselves as equals. I also feel like I have become a lot stronger in the way that I would never let anyone push me around or make me feel less about myself again. The Girls in FIRST Weekend showed that we all have true potential and that we shouldn’t lock away that potential, but instead we should show it off and thrive as a strong community.
These activities and guest speakers didn’t only affect me, it affected many of the girls at the event including the girls on my team. One concept that resonated with each member was resilience. Resilience was a key concept that was taught during the weekend. This one word really touched a lot of people. Resilience is a very important trait for everyone to incorporate into their lives. It helps you stay strong and look at the positives in life.
Overall, the Girls in FIRST Weekend was a weekend I was glad to attend. It truly changed my view on life and deepened my passion for STEM. This weekend was one that helped me learn a lot about robotics and meet a lot of amazing young women that are passionate about the same thing as I am. Every day I look forward to doing something greater. I would also like to thank the Argosy Foundation, GM Canada, and everyone else who was involved in making this weekend happen.
Mehakdeep Khela is a member of the Girls in STEM Student Executive Advisory Council, an initiative of FIRST Robotics Canada.