Tough as Fe(male)

Discuss any obstacles and/or hardships you have encountered and how you dealt with them.

If you were asked to name five famous living female scientists or engineers off the top of your head, could you do it? The majority of people would probably not be able to name more than one, if that.

There are thirty-five members on my FIRST Robotics Competition team and only four of us are girls. Only two of these four girls are on the mechanical and electrical team, and I am one of those two. While I have always been one of the few girls in the male-dominated fields that I am interested in, joining the robotics team and making a spot for myself has been one of the most challenging experiences in my high school career.

On the surface, the girls on the team are treated the same way as the boys. However, there are indicators of different attitudes that are held by some men in regard to women and their role in science and engineering. While there is no open discrimination, it has definitely been harder to fit in and allow my ideas to be heard. These hidden prejudices have been apparent in questions and statements that the male mentors and teammates have made towards me. For example, “Elisa, would you mind organizing those shelves for us?” while I was working on a lifting mechanism for our robot; when I was starting my designs...

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