I am the founder of a company, LIMElab (www.limelab.org), which is focused on providing technology training to girls, especially in the Detroit area… I started by offering after-school Arduino classes to K-5 kids in my younger sister’s school. I was surprised by the complete absence of girls in these classes. On discussions with my parents, I became aware of the gender gap in technology and decided to do something about it. I started out by reaching out for advice and connections in my current and old school network. Through this search, I became aware of the Michigan Science Center’s (MiSci) effort to promote STEM education in girls through its STEMinista program. LIMElab became a community partner of the STEMinista program and started to offer technology workshops and robotics summer camps for girls at the MiSci. I reached out to the Detroit Public library (DPL) and presented my work to them. They immediately invited us to offer our programs in their 16 library branches. Starting in 2018, I have started to offer an Arduino summer camp for middle and high school girls in the Redford branch of the DPL and we are slated to offer more programs in the other branches. LIME lab has grown beyond my wildest dreams. My biggest learnings in this whole experience have been the power of collaborations and the importance of asking for help. I have experienced firsthand that if I am working towards a worthy cause, many hands come forward to help.
What inspired you (or your team)?
In 2013, I attended a talk at the University of Michigan titled “Making Makers”, by the then Editor-In-Chief of the Make magazine, Mark Frauenfelder. Mark talked about the new DIY maker movement and demonstrated electronic projects using the open source microcontroller – Arduino. For a sixth grader, this was nothing less than magic. I was fascinated and intrigued by how the microcontroller used sensors to interact with the physical world. Becoming conversant with the technology was quick after which I started searching for projects on the internet and building them. I soon started to teach Arduino to my friends in the neighborhood.