Girls participate in Blue Valley School District engineering pro - KCTV5

Girls participate in Blue Valley School District engineering program

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The students have spent the last five months designing, coding and making robots. (KCTV) The students have spent the last five months designing, coding and making robots. (KCTV)
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

Over the course of the school year, high school girls from across the Blue Valley School District have come together to share their passion for engineering.

These students are a part of a program that is a first for the school district. They have spent the last five months designing, coding and making robots.

“I think it’s awesome because we need girls in the engineering branch,” said Beatriz Toro, a freshman at Blue Valley High School.

Toro already knows she wants to be a chemical engineer. Now she knows she's not alone.

“I didn't think that there were this many girls especially at Southwest [High School],” said junior Meghan Buchanan. “For example, in my physics class, I’m the only girl in my grade in that class.”

Getting more women and girls interested in engineering is why Northwest High School teacher Karen Stohlmann Henderson wanted to bring the ‘femineer’ program from California Polytechnic State University to her school.

“It’s all about introducing young woman to open-ended problem-solving in the fields of engineering,” Henderson said.

The group has met one to two Saturdays a month since January, and the robots are the final products.

"It starts playing music and if you go closer, it’s eyes turn red and if you go away, it’s eyes turn blue," said Toro.

Toro and her teammate learned how to code on a computer to make the robot, which they made by hand, perform the tasks they want.

"When you hit ‘start,’ it goes through this cable to the motherboard and the motherboard spreads it out through all the cables,” Toro said as she explained her robot.

Now, the students can't wait to show off what they've learned.

“Just watching them when it moved or it came together, the lights came on like they thought it should, is so awesome to see,” said Henderson.

The students will show their final projects off this Saturday. A professor from California Polytechnic will be flying in to see them and give feedback.

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