This iD Tech alumna combined her love of technology with philanthropy to organize a robotics camp for
For Haley, philanthropy and STEM have gone hand-in-hand for years.
Haley took robotics and programming courses at iD Tech Camps held at the University of Texas at Austin, where she learned about the opportunities that studying such subjects could provide. So instead of just moving on after camp to reap the benefits for herself, she was inspired to make sure others received the opportunity to do the same.
Haley created her own camp to introduce underprivileged kids to STEM. The five-day program allowed for boys and girls to build and program robots, and then put those robots to the test via obstacle courses and other challenges.
The camp was a hit, and a huge accomplishment given Haley sacrificed more than 250 hours of her summer to make it a reality. Her all-girls robotics team even placed in the yearly FTC competition presented by FIRST robotics.
“I wanted to share my love of technology with younger kids, to show them how much fun it could be, and that you can transform excitement for a hobby or interest into a career,” she says.
Haley continued her journey to inspire the next generation of innovators by returning to iD Tech as an instructor, teaching game design, robotics, and Minecraft courses. She taught for three summers, with her final one at Princeton University.
“I really enjoyed coming up with extra activities to make sure my students were immersed in fun, like my experience as a camper,” Haley says. “I can't believe I got paid to inspire others to learn about tech and gaming and show them a world of exciting possibilities.”
Haley has also made it her mission to show that programming and robotics are fields not only reserved for the male gender. She wants girls to know that technology—and its many subjects—isn’t only cool, but incredibly vital to long-term success in a large number of occupations.
“It’s sad how many females choose a different field of study because of the difficulties or judgments made by others,” Haley says. “I am a major advocate for decreasing the gender gap; lots of progress has been made, but we still have a ways to go!”
Haley says her experiences at iD Tech, as well as working with kids, caused her to pursue technology as her career. She began by scoring an internship in AT&T’s Big Data program, that, she says proudly, “has a more challenging acceptance rate than Stanford and MIT.”
She’s also about to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University, where she currently works for the Women in Engineering Program. She’s been a member of the Society of Women Engineers since 2011. And her big dreams don’t stop there—she aims to start her own tech company by 2017.
Her advice for young STEM hopefuls is to find your passion:
“Don't ever think that work has to be boring. Game design, robotics, things you love can be turned into an amazing profession.
“The best advice I can give for success is to find something you’re genuinely interested in and show it! You do the best work when you're passionate about what you do and never give up! You can truly do anything you set your mind to.”
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