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The sport of science, technology, and teamwork.



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INSPIRING YOUNG WOMEN TO BE TOMORROW’S LEADERS About Us Washington FIRST Robotics inspires young individuals to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based, competitive robotics programs. By participating in FIRST, kids develop well-rounded life capabilities, including self-confidence, communication skills and leadership.

FIRST Girls Initiative Mission The science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce is essential to America’s growing economy. Yet, according to a 2013 Boston Consulting Group report quoted by the Washington STEM Framework for Action and Accountability Validation Project, local companies will experience 50,000 vacancies by 2017. STEM and health care jobs account for 90 percent of these vacancies. Filling these positions will require a STEM educated workforce statewide. Despite the need for STEM employees, women today only make up 28 percent of tenure track faculty in STEM fields. Through Washington FIRST Robotics, we have the opportunity to engage female students in STEM at an early age. With less than 20 percent of women acquiring computer science and engineering degrees, Washington FIRST Robotics is dedicated to increasing STEM interest and bridging the gender gap through the future STEM workforce. With the generous support of Intellectual Ventures, we have launched the Girls FIRST Initiative. This initiative encompasses a matrix, data points, and recruitment efforts to spark interest in STEM among girls and women within Washington State. Join us in our efforts to diversify the STEM workforce and to empower young women and men of all backgrounds across the globe!


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WHY GIRLS? WHY STEM? ...Because Industry Needs Women “Women currently make up 58% of the United States workforce. Though women are the majority of our country’s workforce, they are poorly represented in STEM fields.” - Women’s Collaborative Project


45.9% of Chemists and Material Scientists are Women. 28.9% of Environmental Scientists and Geoscientists are Women.

22.3% of Chemical Engineers are Women. 13.1% of Civil Engineers are Women. 8.8% of Electrical and Electronic Engineers are Women. 17.8% of Industrial Engineers are Women. 5.5% of Mechanical Engineers are Women. Our vision is to promote interest in STEM through robotics programs in hope that girls will pursue STEM careers!



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WHY GIRLS? WHY STEM? (cont.) ...Because Stereotypes are Obstacles Humans from every gender, culture, and ethnicity have stereotypes that affect their perception on their individual success. It is the stereotype that women cannot succeed in math and science that overshadows the female perception. How much do gender stereotypes play into the human’s perception on their STEM ability? The research of The American Association of University Women (AAUW) suggests that elementary school children consciously believe in the truth of stereotypes. In a 2006 survey conducted by AAUW, 38% of boys agreed with the statement, “the smartest girls in my school are not popular,” and 17% of girls and 14% of boys thought it was true that “teachers think it is not important for girls to be good at math.” These conscious beliefs may be more powerful than held beliefs because we are not aware of them. However, research shows that human beings can succeed beyond stereotypes. Psychologist Janet Hyde of the University of Wisconsin published a report in 2008 that showed standardized test scores taken in 20052007 by nearly 7 million students in 10 states. The researchers found that math and science scores of boys and girls were split 50/50, suggesting that there is "no gender difference" in scores among children in 2nd through 11th grade. Overall, gender does not determine success in STEM fields. Every human being is born with equal STEM capabilities. It is important to begin STEM interest at an early age so female and male students are not discouraged. The overall goal of the Girls FIRST Initiative is to overcome gender stereotypes and to tell both boys and girls that they are equally capable of success!


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OUR RESEARCH Washington FIRST Robotics conducted online survey’s and mini-focus discussions across all four programs with girls, boys and mentors participating. The findings compliment years of national studies.

50 girls.

% of Jr. FIRST Lego League/FIRST Lego League team members are

35 28

% of FIRST Tech Challenge team members are girls.

% of FIRST Robotic Competition team members are girls. Our research shows that on average female and male interest in FIRST programs is equal in elementary school. However, female interest declines as children age and enter middle and high school. The overall goal of the FIRST Girls Initiative is to not overpower female presence, but to learn how to maintain girl’s interest in STEM as they enter middle and high school.



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1-2-3 LET’S GO!

Make FIRST game experiences more relevant and connected to real-world problems.

According to a 2012 survey conducted by the Girl Scouts of America, over 94% of participating girls reported that they wanted to pursue a career path on which they can serve their community. About 65% of Girl Scouts interested in STEM fields desired a STEM career path related to health and social science. In order to maintain and promote female interest, FIRST must be dedicated to the creation of an environment that is relevant to outside world issues.


The report also noted that 47% of participating girls would feel uncomfortable if placed in a classroom in which they are the only female student. By training mentors and recruiting additional female mentors, Washington FIRST Robotics can minimize the fine line between intimidation and success for girls, and inspire career connections.

3 Define heroes and target girls whose parents do not have a STEM background

Generation STEM, Girl Scouts of America, 2013

Develop and provide mentor training for adults and students.

71% of Girl Scouts reported that their parents have a STEM career, and have encouraged them to pursue STEM-related interests. It is more difficult for girls whose parents do not have STEM backgrounds to discover their love for STEM. Washington FIRST Robotics must encourage these girls by defining heroes that can help them find their potential passion for math and science.



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CALL TO ACTION! Washington FIRST Robotics will be in the field this summer and fall recruiting, training, and supporting female mentors and girls to join teams within the Washington FIRST Robotics community. We inspire to empower young women and to make a difference in the FIRST community! Join us today by investing, mentoring and volunteering with us!

For more information and how you can get involved, please contact: Hilary Waite at Erin McCallum at



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WOMEN STEM LEADERS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST “Imagine what fantastic ideas and innovations are waiting to be discovered and invented by girls! When we dare to branch out of the girly stereotype, anything is possible and the sky is the limit!”

Kimberly Hicks Systems Engineer, The Boeing Company “There is no doubt in my mind that a strong STEM workforce is crucial to ensuring innovation in today’s technology driven world. Women have had some great impact on areas of STEM, and by encouraging girls to pursue these areas in education, we are paving the way to a brighter future. When we’ve finally overcome gender barriers in STEM, we will have unlocked half of the world’s inventive brainpower.”

Adrienne Brown President and COO Intellectual Ventures

“Every year I'm amazed by the students who get engaged in FIRST. The most successful years for Franklin High School team Xbot is when the team is lead by female cocaptains. Get involved, see how cool science, math, robotics and FIRST can be. GIRLS rule!”

Donna Lew Mentor, Franklin High School Team 488 Xbot



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GIRLS FIRST COMMITTEE Jennifer Mortensen Corporate Communications Marketing, Intellectual Ventures After receiving a B.A. in English and a minor in environmental studies from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma., Jennifer amassed experience in science and tech communications at a leading magazine publisher and at an infectious disease research institute. In 2012 she joined the corporate communications team at Intellectual Ventures.

Amy Myers Walla Walla FIRST Lego League Team, Girl Scouts Amy has earned a B.A. in biology and chemistry from Whitman College and a MPH (health education focus) from the University Washington. Amy loves FLL and has witnessed firsthand the benefits of the FLL program while working as a mentor for a group of fifth grade girls from a high -poverty elementary school. She currently lives in Walla Walla and is a medical writer.

Chelsea Olson Electrical Engineer, The Boeing Company Mentor, FIRST Robotics Competition Chelsea recently graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and is currently seeking her M.A. of Engineering. She got involved as a mentor for FIRST Robotics Competition team 2046 Bear Metal in 2012 and has been a significant member of the FIRST volunteer family ever since.



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Sarah Powazek Issaquah High School Sarah is a sophomore at Issaquah High School and is a member of FIRST Robotics Competition team 1318. On her team, she analyzes, designs, and drives the robot. She looks forward to working on the advisory board to help recruit more girls in FIRST and STEM !

Kat Stebbins FIRST Robotics Team Coordinator, Moses Lake, WA As a teacher for over 20 years, Kat has taught many subjects at a variety of levels but science has always been her first love. The FIRST Robotics programs are a hobby, which allow Kat to share her love of learning and science with kids.

Jennifer Taflin Kings High School Jennifer came onto FIRST Robotics as a freshman on the FIRST Tech Challenge rookie team 4590. She has been involved in the growth and development of FIRST programs in her community. She has been a leader, mentor, and friend to many people through her experiences in robotics. She will pursue a degree in robotics and embedded systems at the University of Advancing Technology in September 2014!



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Lisa White Director of Instructional Programs, Spokane Public Schools Lisa has been an administrator in Spokane Public Schools for the past 21 years. She is the Director of Career and Technical Education and has been in this position for the past 11 years. Lisa has catalyzed an opportunity for all students ( K-12) in Spokane Public Schools to participate in engineering and computer Science through FIRST Lego League/JR, and FIRST Robotics Challenge over the next three years. Lisa is an alumna of Gonzaga University with a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration.

Cassidy Barnes Franklin High School Cassidy is a freshman who does community outreach for the FIRST Robotics Competition team Xbot at Franklin High School. In her spare time, she participates in choir and drama!

Work Cited Girl Scouts of America. "Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math." Generation STEM - Full Report. "Girls = Boys at Math." Science/AAAS. ScienceMag.Org. Web. 30 May 2014. "Jobs within Our Reach: Solving the Problem of Washington State's Growing Job Skills Gap." Boston Consulting Group. "Statistics: State of Girls and Women in STEM." National Girls Collaborative Project |. National Girls Collaborative Project. "Why so Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math." AAUW: Empowering Women Since 1881.

Washington FIRST Robotics 21238 68th Avenue South Kent, WA 98032 W: WASHINGTONFIRSTROBOTICS FIRST_WA TAX ID: 45-2443839

Washington FIRST Robotics FIRST Girls Initiative  
Washington FIRST Robotics FIRST Girls Initiative  

The FIRST Girls Initiative is a new program that encompasses data collection, a matrix, and recruitment efforts to spark interest in science...