Written by volunteer writer Amy Freeman
Since technology is always changing, there’s always something new to learn. TechGirlz is regularly introducing new TechShop topics to help introduce girls to the latest developments and opportunities in the tech world.
One of the newest TechShop topics ran is “Rehabilitation Robotics: Assemble and Program a Robotic Glove.” The workshop was developed by Sofiya Lysenko, a high school student who recently won the 4th place national prize from ProjectCSGirls (she’s also a member of their Curriculum Development team).
Sofiya had a chance to co-lead the workshop on December 1, 2018, along with Wilson Torres, the manager of the Rehabilitation Robotics R&D Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Wilson led the first part of the workshop and took the girls on a tour of the robotics lab. He also offered input and advice on the workshop plan, to help to get it right.
During the workshop, the director of the Rehabilitation Robotics department, Dr. Michelle Johnson, Skyped in to welcome the girls. Dr. Johnson is committed to doing outreach and has been very supportive of TechGirlz.
In developing and teaching the workshop, Sofiya relied on her past experience teaching Arduino workshops and on her knowledge of hardware and software fundamentals. Her favorite part of co-leading the TechShop was helping the girls connect the dots between topics such as coding and Arduino to the top of rehabilitation.
Many of the girls in the workshop had experience with coding, Arduino or both, but rehabilitation was a new topic for most of them. The girls had a chance to jump in and explore the interdisciplinary of the subjects. In future workshops, Sofiya would like to give the girls more time to experiment with the robotic glove itself.
It wasn’t only the girls who participated in the TechShop who learned something new. Sofiya noted that developing the curriculum helped her to learn more about the intricacies of rehabilitation robotics and new ways of coming up with solutions to an issue. She appreciated getting the opportunity to see how different students took different approaches to problem solving and troubleshooting.
Many of the girls who participated in the workshop were thrilled to have been there. One parent said that her daughter “absolutely loved the workshop” and started working on Snap Circuits when she got home. The parent was also happy that the workshop gave her daughter a chance to meet with girls who have similar interests and thanked the workshop leaders for helping to relight the fire of her interest in technology.
Sofiya also had a few words of thanks at the end of the workshop:
“Thank you to everyone at TechGirlz for allowing the lab to develop and present a workshop on this topic, and thank you to the volunteers at the lab and from TechGirlz for their help with the workshop!”
Keep an eye on our TechShopz in a Box™ topics page to download the workshop once it is published!