MentorBuilt News: Teacher struggles to involve girls in STEM despite not really trying


Trenton, NJ - Around noontime, Trenton High School sophomore Carol Shepard was packing up her belongings preparing to head to lunch when she noticed something peculiar in her hallway. "There was just this giant metal...THING in the middle of the hallway." What Carol witnessed was the school's FIRST robotics team in action. She had never heard or seen anything about this school team before. "I was curious about what it was, but the teacher, Mr. Simon, said that I probably wouldn't be interested in it, unless I wanted to be on like the business team or write essays," the student told us.
"I'm not big on girls joining the robotics team if I'm being honest," Mr. Simon rebutted when questioned about the topic, "They sit around, playing their Snapchat and Pokemango and the boys get distracted. If I can't have them sit in a room and write our essays, I'm not sure what they can really help with."

Mr. Simon is faced with an issue male teachers all around the country are dealing with - female students who just don't want to engage with robotics. Studies show that despite the efforts of strong male figures in STEM, only 15% of all robotics students are girls. Mr. Simon vented his frustrations to us. - "I try really hard to get them interested. I emphasize that there's a business team that works on the entrepreneurship award, PR, marketing, fundraising, and event being the mascot or cheerleading, but no bite. I'm just not sure how to sell the robotics team to these girls. They have no interest."

Clearly, the girls at Trenton High don't want careers in STEM.

But Mr. Simon has one more idea, "I think I'll have all the girls do our match scouting. That's something their minds can really get a workout with."

- MB News

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