Inclusion in FIRST

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On May 20, 2017, STORM Robotics hosted its first annual FIRST Compass, an event where teams can give or watch presentations about different subjects in robotics. Representing LGBTQ+ of FIRST, Jaye and Sean presented this slide show to help teams in the MAR region and MAR itself learn how to be more inclusive to LGBTQ+ FIRST participants.

Since numerous teams seemed interested, LGBTQ+ of FIRST is sharing this presentation for all FIRSTers, especially those outside the MAR region and those who missed the event.

Every LGBTQ+ students deserves a welcoming and inclusive environment.

Robots, Engineering, and Me – A Young Woman’s Perspective

Hi all,

I’ve already posted an eighteen minute video, so I figure you probably don’t want to read another three hundred page essay about my TEDx talk. It was an insane opportunity to receive, to prepare for, and finally, to perform.

If you don’t have the time to watch the entire video, that’s okay! Here’s a short breakdown!

  • Joining FRC 2826 Wave Robotics completely changed my life
  • Women during WW2 – more women in the workforce!
    • In the aviation industry, women went from making up just 1% of the workforce to nearly 65%!
  • Admiral Grace Hopper – yes, the one the field at champs is named after
    • Created the first compiler (and no one believed it)
    • Helped create COBOL
    • Coined the term “debugging”
    • Holds over 30 honorable doctorate degrees!
  • Margaret Hamilton
    • Worked on code for the Apollo command module (a 70lb portable computer!)
    • Worked with only 13,024 “words”
    • Helped save men during Apollo 8
    • Basically created the field of software engineering
  • I got sucked into robotics thanks to amazing mentorship and an amazing team!
  • Women make up less than 25% of STEM jobs
    • Racial gap as well
    • I had like six pages of statistics but I had to edit them out
  • How do we help?
    • Combating implicit bias
    • Great female mentors!
    • Social relevance of STEM
    • Introducing girls earlier
    • Being a role model!
    • As a girl, keep a growth mindset!
    • Take every opportunity you are given to learn
    • Create a sense of belonging in the environment
      • One place where I felt this was an all girls competition – Indy Rage!
  • Acceptance is super important!
  • “We need not wait to see what others do”- Ghandi
    • We need to do it ourselves. We need to be the change.

I was incredibly thankful for the opportunity and I hope to keep creating change in the world – whether for this initiative or any other.

Thank you for making the world a better place with me,

Kiran L. 2826

P.S. This was the first and only time I’ve worn make-up. How do people that wear it everyday do things like drink water?!

-Kiran L. 2826

LGBTQ+ of FTC and FLL

This is a stressful time of year for all of us. Seniors are applying and hearing back from schools, juniors are planning visits, midterms are around the corner, and it’s also build season. It’s really easy to get carried away with the stress and forget about the outside world. Even in the midst of the FRC build season, we still have to remember the FLL and FTC teams that are building and competing for their competitions. Being a safe space and resource for LGBTQ+ youth in FIRST, we want to include everyone, not just FRC members. Life is really stressful as an LGBTQ+ kid, especially with an extracurricular activity as stressful and time consuming as any FIRST organization.

To all my fellow LGBTQ+ FIRSTers out there, I love you, we love you, and your identity is valid, no matter how young you are. Whatever you feel is what is true of your experience. You may change your labels as you come upon ones that fit you better, and that’s okay. Finding your place in the LGBTQ+ community is confusing, but I promise you, it is worth it. As your classmates mature, the taunting will stop and you’ll feel safer, Even if high school is rough, the world is so much bigger than your small community. The world is big and amazing and full of so many opportunities and support for you. Don’t give up.

To the mentors and teachers, support your LGBTQ+ students, even if they are young. Puberty is a rough time for everyone, but especially for LGBTQ+ kids who are growing into an experience they weren’t prepared for. If a student comes out to you, support them. Lend them a shoulder if they need to cry, and build them up. Without support, almost 60% of LGBTQ+ people will attempt suicide, but if you give your students support, that high rate exponentially decreases.  

“Results suggested that a hostile school climate has serious ramifications for LGBT students but institutional supports can play a significant role in making schools safer for these students,” [x].

To everyone in FIRST, you can make a safer environment for LGBTQ+ youth. You can start a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) or Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) at your lower schools. You can practice using gender inclusive languages such as “hey, students” instead of “hello, boys and girls.” You can introduce yourself with you pronouns (ex: “Hi, I’m Sean and I use he/him pronouns”). Most importantly, you can be there your your students, because being there makes a huge difference.

Server Introduction

Starting in two weeks, the Discord server that our staff has been using will be opened to the public. It’s open to anyone, student or mentor, LGBTQ+ or ally, to come to for support, advice, and community. We’re a pretty dynamic bunch, and here’s the ten things you need to know before entering our inner sanctum of insanity.

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One final piece of business! We’re opening up admin applications for anyone who’s interested in helping us with this resource. Fill out this form to apply, and we’ll review your application and get back to you before the server opens. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

LGBTQ+ Purdue Presentation

Hey Guys! This is a general LGBTQ+ in STEM presentation I made for Purdue FIRST Forums. I encourage people to use this presentation to educate their teams and coworkers on all things queer! The presentation also includes helpful LGBTQ+ resources.

Link to presentation Here

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-Gus 3940