Author: ChickTech & Pauline P.

Sometimes we seek out opportunities to make a difference, but other times those opportunities find us.

Pauline’s ChickTech Story

Pauline is a senior at Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, Oregon with an interest in robotics that began with a middle school elective class. She learned about ChickTech when her school counselor sent her a link to the Robotics Bootcamp program at PCC Sylvania.

A photo of Pauline using an iPad standing between a younger student and the student's father.

Pauline tutors a younger student at a Family Code Night in Portland, Oregon.

During the weeklong program, Pauline and 50 other girls learned about 3D printing and robot programming. Her favorite part was when the campers received circuit boards of a Simon Says game and were able to solder the connections together. This camp influenced her to join her high school robotics team as the students learned about FRC and FTC robotics teams and were able to test drive teams’ robots.

Through ChickTech, she says she is able to explore a wide range of possibilities in STEM topics. She’s become involved in other ChickTech programs including developing a drawing robot, soft circuits wiring, and web design workshops. She taught at the Robotics Bootcamp the following year and has helped organize a Family Code Night at a bilingual elementary school with other ChickTech high schoolers. 

Following her experience at the Robotics Bootcamp, Pauline joined an FRC robotics team and has pursued a path teaching others. Initially, at robotics, she faced imposter syndrome – self-doubt despite one’s abilities. Students would take part designs from her declaring she was too new to understand them and the electrical team ignored her questions. She then switched to a different robotics team where she joined the electrical subteam where her questions were welcomed by the mentors and students. Coming from a non-technical background, she enjoyed the challenge of learning about something brand new. 

ChickTech helps ‘untangle the wires’ of technical knowledge

As the chaotic tangles of wiring began to make sense, Pauline now serves as the electrical subteam lead and robot driver on the team. She uses her leadership skills from ChickTech and experience on the previous robotics team to help reinforce the skills of each student and help them understand the language of engineering. 

Pauline and another high school student sit at a park bench with a laptop, wires, and other supplies. Pauline is typing on a laptop.

During COVID, Pauline found ways to safely engage her neighborhood community by tutoring girls outside in STEM and robotics.

Pauline says her experience at ChickTech has also taught her about the excitement of hands-on experience with technology, as well as providing an opportunity to find a community of like-minded women in tech circles. The gender gap in STEM fields and classes is closing to some degree, but it still persists. When she first walked into her robotics class in seventh grade, Pauline was the only girl there apart from the teacher. She now enjoys being connected with students from a variety of high schools all interested in technology.

During the months at home during COVID-19, she began tutoring a small group of kids in her neighborhood over Zoom, teaching them about coding and dabbling in robotics. She likes mentoring others as her interest in technology has grown from those who have helped her. Currently, she is studying for a drone pilot’s license through a scholarship from Skyward in partnership with ChickTech. 

The future looks bright!

After high school, Pauline is interested in pursuing electrical engineering and entrepreneurship. Her experiences at ChickTech have helped shape the kind of college environments she plans to seek out – places with lots of opportunities for collaboration and hands-on work with technology.

Pauline’s advice to people who aren’t sure if they’re cut out for technology careers or hobbies: there is no certain box. The best thing to do is to try it out and ask questions – and if you’re curious about a robotics team or other technology outlet, don’t hesitate to give it a shot. 

Join the ChickTech family! All high school girls and non-binary students are welcome in our community.

Are you a student looking to gain experience in STEM, or wanting to meet a supportive community of peers and mentors? Registration is now open for the ChickTech: High School 2021/2022 program! Learn more and register (or nominate students) here.