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Pittsburgh High School Girls Get Robotic Training from Carnegie Mellon

High school girls in Pittsburgh are getting a push into technology and, particularly, robotics, with the creation of an all-girl team that will compete in robotic competitions in 2011. The initiative is a joint project of Carnegie Mellon University's Field Robotics Center within the Robotics Institute and the PghTech Women Network. The last is an organization allied with the Pittsburgh Technology Council that brings together women in technology for networking and professional development.

The team, named GirlsFIRST and made up of 26 students in grades 9 through 12 from 11 area high schools, will compete in a robotics competition in the spring.

"Overall, I love participating on the GirlsFIRST robotics team because it offers an opportunity to test a variety of different interests--so you don't have to be an expert in anything to start and you have the opportunity to gain many new skills," said 10th grader Jaden Barney. "I am super excited to learn more about robotics, make new friends with my teammates, and build one awesome robot!"

Carnegie Mellon's robotics center is holding weekly training classes, which are being taught by a group of university scientists, researchers, professors, engineers, and students. Construction of the robot will begin in January in time for the regional FIRST robotics competition being held in March.

This latest endeavor is part of a larger program at the university to boost interest in computer science and science, technology, engineering, and math fields, especially among women and minorities.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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