Audrey Rocks Robotics, Overcomes Gender Stereotypes

Totee Setthachuea, Staff Writer

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Smashing the patriarchal dominance in the engineering field, Audrey Cummings, a female senior at Clairemont High School, blazes through the industry by founding the Clairemontster Robotics Club. Initially, the  team started with a roster size of seven. It has now flourished into a team with thirty talented student engineers and programmers. Cummings has propelled the engineering field even further for her school’s community, and especially for females.

Her interests in the engineering industry began at the age of three when she was innocently playing with Legos in her grandmother’s house. Those simple plastic building blocks built her interest in the STEM fields. “I really enjoyed building with the Legos; it made me realize that this was what I wanted to do with my future. Engineering is the field that will allow me to exercise my passion for building,” stated Cummings.


To pursue her passion, Cummings began to envelop herself in the world of FIRST Robotics, an organization that hosts robotics competitions for students of all grade levels. Her robotics career began in the seventh grade with her involvement in the FIRST Lego Competition (FLC), a competition where students build robots out of Lego kits that each team received. Cumming’s fervor for robotics is clearly seen when she said, “I like the ideas of robotics with all of its many aspects, such as wiring electrical boards, welding metals and putting it all together.”

Her FLC experience heavily influenced her decision to start a FIRST Robotics Competition team at Clairemont High School. Cummings said, “It was really fun being apart of FLC and I wanted to cary that fun to high school. I started coming up with the plan with Mrs. Holland and emailed Dr. Roberson about the plan.” And thus, the birth of Clairemonster Robotics.

Cummings’s role on the team, besides being the founder, is being the head of the electrical department. “I wire the main computer unit called the RoboRio onto an electrical board that distributes power to the various motors and moving components of the robot,” she stated.

Despite being an expert on the electrical board, she has been through troubles because of her gender. “By being a female,” she said, “it has been harder to put my voice into things.”  However, she has not let that discourage her from pursuing her passion and doing the things she loves.

Charlie Jenkins, the current president of the robotics team, admires her perseverance and work ethic.“During our building season, Audrey is always upbeat and optimistic which really made the environment fun to work in.  Her passion for the field has been a huge motivator for everyone on the team,” commented Jenkins.

Women comprise of 26% of the STEM field despite making up half of the working population, so her work has set a precedent in the engineering scene at Clairemont High School. She has established, by being a female engineer, a team that openly welcomes other females to the industry.  Her work has culminated and resulted in the current team to have more females than male.

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