Girls' PCC robotics camp helps students shine

Girls' PCC robotics camp helps students shine

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by Cathy Marshall, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 6:46 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 15 at 9:20 AM

PORTLAND -- Some high school girls with dreams of going into space or designing aircraft have already made a big step in that direction this summer.

They're part of a girls-only robotics camp.

Samantha Guthrie was one of the students. This week, she’s taking a class at the machine shop at PCC Sylvania.

Even though she knows she’s in a male-dominated world, she makes her own mark.

Her robotics team had about 35 students and only five of them were girls.

Other students in her girls-only robotics class said they faced similar numbers on their high school robotic teams.

“There's only two girls on my team and we're definitely more thoughtful and more organized," student Renada Villanti added.

Alex Vins instructs the high school students in this college-level class for three weeks.

“I've got a 6-year-old daughter and what I try to instill in her is, whatever she wants to do, she is just as capable as any boy would be," Vins said.

The assignment this week was to turn two hunks of metal into a hammer.

“A small project like this, they can take home and be proud of how it incorporates a lot of skill sets they're going to use in robotics competition," Vins said.

There's good reason behind the girls-only camp. In the 7 years that Portland Community College has offered it, they found for every 18 young men who registered, there were only 3 young women.

So last summer they decided to change that.

“It's really good and energizing to see other girls doing the same thing," Guthrie said.

Each of the students earned a scholarship to cover the hundreds of dollars in tuition. The skills they learn will likely take them beyond just robotics competitions.

As for this latest class session, with just two days left, their teacher was convinced that when it comes to hammers, these students had their assignment nailed.

"It's a delight to see, it really is," Vins added.

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