Lehigh Valley

TechGYRLS create robots at a young age

TechGYRLS create robots at a young age

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - An after school program is giving local girls hands-on experience with robotics. The goal is to inspire the teens to make technology into a career.

It took seven weeks to get here.

"It was really hard to do all this."

Local sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls did all the work themselves.

"I feel proud of myself because I got to do something that I really enjoyed."

The TechGYRLS program is part of the YWCA of Bethlehem. Friday night girls from North East and Nitschmann middle schools had the chance to show off their hard work.

"It made me feel proud and happy because we got to show other people what we did and what work we did and how we did it," said Nitschmann Middle School sixth grader Rosa Velazquez.

All of the groups used Lego NXT kits to build their robots. Using the parts inside it only took a few days to put them together, but it took about four weeks to program the computers. The girls first had to do the programming on a laptop.

"We took all that information from the laptop and downloaded it all onto the robot," explained Northeast Middle School sixth grader Kayleigh Williams.

The program made the robots move and follow the mazes the groups constructed.

"Things went wrong when we were programming it but we just had to look over it twice maybe three times and we figured it out," said Velazquez.

But after all the sensors and gears are dismantled, the organizers hope the girls take something more away from this experience.

"The techGYRLS program strives to empower girls to pursue technology and engineering," said program coordinator Jackie Zabel. "And what these girls find is, when they start, they see how fun it is and they say oh look I can do this too."

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