Jasmine Bayrooti is in 10th grade and is 16 years old. She has been majorly involved in STEM for over 7 years and robotics has become one of her passions. She especially enjoys software engineering and mathematics and hope to use them in her career.
How did you first become involved with STEM?
When I was 8 years old, my father started a basic robotics team for me and a few friends. My club began as a fun social event for young children but it has evolved over the years into an internationally competitive group of kids devoted to robotics and STEM. Beginning at a young age helped me to appreciate how much of an impact older teenage mentors can be and now I help coach/mentor two younger teams with the hopes that I can inspire them to follow similar paths.
What did you think about STEM before you were involved? How have your views changed over time?
Before my first robotics team, I always thought the sciences were too complicated and high level for me to ever understand anything. After experiencing some preliminary successes however, I finally realized that I could be successful in this field. Over the years, I have come to understand that there are aspects of STEM that are not actually as complex as they may seem to be initially and that they can prove to be amazingly interesting if you are willing to try it a little bit. Additionally, I have found that a general problem solving mindset can even help in unrelated areas like English and History because it provides an organized and logical way of tackling a problem.
Have stereotypes ever influenced your view of STEM and what you do? Have you ever encountered any bias due to your gender or another factor?
I have never experienced much bias against my gender, although most of my more advanced classes and robotics teams have gradually become more masculine dominated.
Why do you think that more girls should be interested in STEM?
I think that anyone, regardless of gender, really should make an effort to learn about STEM and all the opportunities that can arise from involvement since the sciences are always useful in the job market, even if you do not plan to pursue a career in the field. For example, problem solving and logical methods (like writing geometry proofs), which can be developed and refined through STEM involvement, are very beneficial for areas in the liberal arts and writing in general. I think that girls should not be intimidated by the male majority in STEM and should really just follow their interests wherever they may lead.
Do you see yourself having a career in a STEM field in the future (if you don't already)? If so, do you have a dream job or company?
Yes! I really want to work as a computer scientist or mathematician in financial risk management.
Have you created anything that you would like to tell us about?
I built a quadrotor copter for surveying disaster sites and locating survivors, I made a charger that works over distance using oscillating current, I have programed a camera interface with the Raspberry Pi, I built a world in unity that runs on the Oculus Rift for immersive language exposure, and am currently constructing a robot using an Arduino controller.
What advice do you have for beginners?
I would advise beginners to seriously learn about STEM opportunities and build up enough courage to enter a male dominated field if they enjoy the sciences. Do not be intimidated of the complicated topics that exist in science, rather embrace the challenge and enjoy the learning opportunities.
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