Girls in Robotics @ Waikato University

As students got their head around design and construction, many of our Napier girls were encouraged to envision a future where they can create practical robotic things that can change the world for example self-serve pumps, ATM machines. This was the kaupapa of the PTC workshop run at School of Engineering, (Faculty of Engineering and Science), Waikato University.

Napier students took up the challenge to create an environmental robot sensitive enough to clean up pollution at their awa. Rangatahi had spent the earlier part of the year investigating their awa and recommending solutions. Now it was time for action that drew upon engineering and technology to achieve the desired outcomes.  

"The ideal engineer is a composite... He is not a scientist, he is not a mathematician, he is not a sociologist or a writer; but he may use the knowledge and techniques of any or all of these disciplines in solving engineering problems."  (Nathan W. Dougherty).

Girls and robotics has been highlighted as a critical need for the 21st century and beyond. Consequently, PTC utilised the workshop as a platform to feature the work of many female engineers. One such engineer is the work of  Dr Cynthia  Breazeal, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT and founder of the social robot company Jibo, Inc., who helped with Barbie doll new career as a Robotic Engineer.

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Julie Schoenfeld, VP, Autonomous Vehicles: General Motors, Cruise Automation Technical Program Management, is another who has seen the future of the self-driving. 

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Dr Hin carefully explained that the first steps in engineering involve questioning and inquiry and the girls were encouraged to keep inquiring of the world around them and the vision of iwi, hapū, and whānau Māori succeeding as Māori.  The world of technology opens a realm of high paying jobs for our rangatahi. Increasing Māori skills will increase income levels and will enable rangatahi  to have greater control over their lives and more freedom in considering  a range of career options.