*This is the winning pitch I gave on 26.07/2017 at Sheffield Soup*
Twenty years ago, my mind was blown. A lady in a white lab coat held took a balloon and dipped it into a massive vat of liquid nitrogen. Then she picked up a ruler and tapped it against the balloon. It shattered to a million pieces. I was hooked. I wanted to know how everything worked. Before that day, I thought STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) were for boys. I thought there was no way a girl like me – mixed race and not knowing if I’d get three meals a day, could be an engineer. And here I am today, an engineer who’s had a lot of really cool jobs. And it all started, with a lady in a white lab coat.
I want to be the lady in the lab coat intervening in kids’ lives. I took my makerspace ( a makerspace is a place where kids bring the imagination and I bring the tools, materials and expertise so that they can make their imaginations reality) to 130 kids. Let me set the scene, they were all around me, making stuff and tinkering and getting excited. One little girl reminded me of myself 20 years ago. She was showing me the LEGO woman she created and we got to talking about a school assignment where she had to write about a machine that would make her bed, cook breakfast for her and even walk the dog. So I said, “Oh, you designed a robot.”
She laughed at me and said, “I can’t make robots.”
To which I said, “But oh you did, robots are anything that responds and does stuff for you.” I could see it on her face. In that moment the light bulb turned on for her. She was so excited that she designed something. She then built her robot from LEGO, and suddenly, her robot wasn’t just doing household chores, it was playing football with her – something she’s passionate and excited about.
I want to continue being the lady in the white lab coat, changing kids’ perspectives of where they fit in the world, growing their confidence, and opening their minds that they can do anything. Now imagine, a little girl, drill in hand, with a tool belt around her waist building her own robot.
To continue these interventions, what I really need are continued donations of tools and materials, volunteers and for you to spread the word. Tools and materials enable kids to create their magical worlds, allow kids to be creators of tech and not just consumers of it and the support of the community means I can reach more kids :)
If you can help in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you!