As she keys instructions into a computer keyboard, the Finch robot’s beak changed from blue to red, then purple and orange – much to the delight of McKenzie Sing. Then, she keys in another set of instructions—the bird-shaped robot rolls forward.
She’s enjoying herself amid the array of computers and boxes filled with parts from a much larger robot that knows how to climb a rope.
However, the fifth grader at Pittsburgh Spring Hill Elementary hasn’t had too many hands-on opportunities to do any kind of tech learning.
“Our school doesn’t have a lot of money, but the Pittsburgh Pirates donated a bunch of laptops so that really helps,” Sing said. “I’m going to CAPA next year to study visual arts. So, computer animation is something I’ll definitely be exploring.”
Sing was one of about 80 girls who took a day off from spring vacations to attend the “Tech Girls Rock” initiative at the Sarah Heinz House on Pittsburgh’s North Side, April 13.
Sponsored by The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and CA Technologies, the program hopes to spark increased participation by girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, which continue to suffer a deficit of female professionals.
The girls enjoyed a continental breakfast and welcome remarks from Sarah Heinz House Executive Director Jennifer Cairns, and inspirational remarks from Pittsburgh Technology Council President and CEO Audrey Russo.