Robotics: Team’s female president makes her mark

February 10, 2017 — by Esha Lakhotia and Sophia Zivanic

Robotic's president makes a lasting impact on the team. 

Last spring, after having delivered a speech, Nicole Lin waited anxiously for the results of voting to be the president the Mechanical Science and Engineering (M-SET) team.

After a few excruciating minutes, the results were in: Lin was elected to be the first female president of the school’s M-SET robotics club.

Ever since Lin joined the team her freshman year of high school, the senior has been heavily involved with every project and build season and held other leadership roles. Sophomore Ian Le, a member of M-SET, remembers why he voted for Lin.

“I think she’s responsible, hardworking and heavily invested in robotics,” Le said. “Also, she promised and executed summer training courses that helped the club function as a team.”

Soon after Lin was elected, she worked with mentors, 2014-15 president Naveed Riaziat, team coordinators Bob and Dianne France, technical mentor and machinist Mitchell Lichtenberg, math teacher Judi Heher and last year’s club president 2016 alumnus Kabir Manghnani, to choose her officer team for the coming school year.

As an overall mentor, trainer and manager of a 10-person officer team, Lin not only helps other students further their knowledge about robotics, but she also organizes relations with other Bay Area schools and organizations.

“I'm just happy I get to keep growing the club as the president so that more people can get involved with robotics,” Lin said.

As the first female president of M-SET, Lin said other club members don’t treat her differently because of her gender. More importantly, Lin draws power and motivation from other women participating in STEM or robotics, and builds on becoming an influence on others’ education.

“In the Silicon Valley, there's a higher concentration of women participating in STEM, which means that as a female student I have more support from women who have experience in industry,” Lin said. “For example, math and engineering teacher Audrey Warmuth has experience in the industry, and she can provides me with a better sense of what I'm getting into.”

Warmuth has worked closely with Lin for the past four years in the Project Lead the Way engineering program and has often noticed that Lin is “willing to take on something harder than what was required.”

“She’s always had a drive to have her project be successful, even if it required more work than other projects did,” Warmuth said.

Even though robotics and STEM are both heavily male dominated, with the club having a male-female ratio of 72-37, Lin feels her gender has had no difference in her abilities to lead and train, especially because the teachers and students around her support and encourage her.

As Lin goes further and further into her robotics career, she encourages other girls to join STEM pursuits as well.

“Robotics is the perfect platform to learn a lot about yourself and open the door to a world of opportunity in pursuing a career in STEM or business,” Lin said. “Because of my experiences in M-SET, I know I can make a tangible difference in the world by building solutions.”


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