In San Antonio Women in Robotics started a grassroots effort nearly three years ago to recruit more women into the tech industry, particularly the male-dominated robotics field. The organization, which is now a global nonprofit network, is launching its newest chapter in San Antonio.
The only Women in Robotics (WiR) chapter in Texas is in San Antonio.
According to Stephanie Garcia, a business development and communications specialist for Port San Antonio, which assisted in setting up the San Antonio effort, the city was an ideal location for the group to grow due to its long-standing educational institutions and rapidly expanding technology sector.
According to census data, the percentage of women working in STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math—has historically been low. However, Women in Robotics hopes to contribute to that change.
Garcia stated that the group’s objective is “to bring together a community that was siloed at one point,” adding that the tech industry in the past was isolated and difficult to enter, particularly for women.
The WiR chapter in San Antonio will host panels and exhibits, organize robotics competitions for businesses and schools, and offer mentorship opportunities through nonprofits like FIRST Robotics and Girls Inc. of San Antonio.
According to Garcia, one of the main objectives of the program is to “connect and engage with younger females.” Starting with Lutheran High School of San Antonio, which is a part of the FIRST Robotics program, the group wants to help students in the San Antonio area.
She continued, “There is a place for everyone in robotics.” The gathering’s site noticed that nonbinary individuals are welcome in its different parts.
WiR has already begun leading new initiatives with Lutheran College, providing students with the opportunity to begin their STEM careers under the guidance of industry professionals. Tutors both locally and the nation over make themselves accessible to the understudies, who get to take part in exercises like programming and creating robots in aggressive settings.
“We need to have the option to catch these young ladies in FIRST Mechanical technology … there are a great deal of volunteer endeavors that I am empowering our section to do,” Garcia said. ” But most importantly, I’d like these ladies to participate in judging because they have that set of skills.
FIRST Robotics, which is based in New Hampshire and was one of the first collaborators in this effort, organizes robotics competitions in local schools to introduce students to the STEM field. To improve the student experience, the organization is collaborating with WiR at the moment.
“It goes beyond FIRST. [ Garcia stated, “The] big picture for this chapter is providing that mentorship and supporting these young women in STEM careers they want to pursue.”
Ivy Vasquez Sandoval, a mentor in the chapter, is from San Antonio and went to the city’s public schools. After working in customer service for more than a decade, she decided to start her career in technology. She was chosen to be a part of the WiR San Antonio chapter, where she is now in leadership at Plus One Robotics, a company that specializes in robotics for parcel handling.
Vasquez Sandoval uses her voice to advocate for diverse representation in the industry because she was not given the opportunity to enter STEM fields when she was in high school and had to take a nonlinear route to get there later in life.
Vasquez Sandoval stated, “Highlighting the professional women, the working people, and what they are today is what will inspire and tell these young kids that you can get there, too.”
According to Vasquez Sandoval, Port San Antonio, which is located on the South Side of the city and is also where she grew up, is a place where she hopes to take advantage of San Antonio’s vibrant heritage and diverse cultures.
Vasquez Sandoval stated, “As the tech community grows, it’s important to recognize that this is a Chicano community that shouldn’t be ignored.” There are numerous opportunities for outreach and participation in the technology industry among ethnic groups with lower levels of engagement.
Latino and Black communities are the underrepresented groups in STEM, according to a 2020 National Science Board study.
Vasquez Sandoval said, “I know what it’s like to not see a lot of people like you in the room.” I have found my own path as a transgender woman.
San Antonio’s expansion
San Antonio’s expansion in the robotics sector is directly reflected in WiR’s mission to work with local businesses.
Vasquez Sandoval stated, “We have a select few groups of companies to thank for the thriving start-up scene we are seeing.” We need the world to know about what’s going on in town so we can take advantage of it for everyone’s benefit.
The goal of WiR’s collaboration with organizations like FIRST Robotics and Girls Inc. is to raise awareness of the STEM opportunities available to women in grades K-12.
As vocations in STEM are turning out to be progressively more well known, virtual entertainment has likewise helped those keen on tech professions by giving better data on the most proficient method to turn into a lifelong in tech.
Additionally, the WiR program aims to lessen women’s reluctance to pursue STEM careers by providing incoming participants with guidance from some of the industry’s most prominent female and nonbinary voices.
At an event on March 21 that will serve as the chapter’s official launch, attendees will have the chance to meet the chapter’s keynote speakers and panels.