Girls are drawn to build and explore from a young age, but there's a big gender gap in technical fields and leadership positions. A lack of role models and collaborators might be contributing to this--making it challenging for girls to envision themselves as ship captains, chief engineers, expedition leaders, and other innovators in STEM fields. Girls can also feel intimidated when exploring real-world applications of technology, and almost all women in STEM experience feelings of isolation when pursuing dreams in male-dominated fields.
Enter Erika Bergman and Kimly Do, the leaders of the GEECs (Global Engineering & Exploration Counselors).
The girls underwater robot camp
The GEECs are taking this challenge seriously and are using robotics education and underwater exploration as material to inspire the next generation of female leaders, scientists, engineers, and explorers. Erika and Kimly have named this the Girls Underwater Robot Camp.
“Oceans are unknown, imperiled, and pose numerous challenging and critical problems. The use of Trident Underwater Drones helps to activate bright, diverse minds to discover and innovate with us as our world becomes theirs.”
The main focus of the camp is to build a working ROV, plan a mission, and tell the story. They use both the OpenROV DIY Kit and the Trident Underwater Drone as a teaching tool. Each camper learns to use hand tools, solder microelectronics, and understand basic marine technology. High-intensity engineering sessions are followed by planning and running an expedition in the field to achieve a research or exploration goal. Documenting along the way, girls also learn how to tell their stories through social media, photography, and filmmaking.
Campers leave empowered and inspired to engineer tools, plan expeditions, tell stories, and collaborate on global ocean exploration projects. Participants gain confidence and assurance that they belong in whatever field they decide to pursue.
New tools for a new generation
Trident, along with the OpenROV DIY kit, provides camp participants with an entry point into underwater robotics engineering and science that is welcoming and fun.
“Trident is amazingly nimble and very easy to fly, making it perfect for girls to use for their own explorations. Whether using Trident for sample collecting, surveying, marine observation, or anything else they choose to discover, young explorers and scientists will find that the Trident is easy to equip and outfit to perform the necessary tasks to research and explore the underwater world.”
Erika Bergman is a National Geographic submarine pilot, as well as chief pilot and director of operations at Aquatica Submarines. She is regularly solicited as a keynote speaker at political, technological, and oceanographic events and has been developing innovative and new teaching methods for exploration and engineering.
Kimly Do is a mechanical engineer designing and building a new wave of soft fabric robotic actuators for underwater vehicles at Otherlab. She is always exploring different and novel ways technology can interact with our oceans.