Keysha Camps, a General Motors engineer, leads autonomous vehicle development while simultaneously teaching high school girls in Detroit engineering skills. Camps told the Detroit Free Press that she believes the girls she teaches are the future of autonomous vehicles.
Camps formed the first all-girls FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics team in metro Detroit. The team competes against other Michigan high schools in various competitions on a playing field.
The mentorship Camps provides to the girls is valuable, as females represent only 14 percent of American engineers. Additionally, only one-in-four bachelor’s degrees in engineering are awarded to women.
Being a female role model has a positive impact on girls’ career outlooks in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. A Microsoft survey found that girls in grades 5-12 who knew a woman in STEM “feel more powerful doing STEM,” “know how to pursue a STEM career,” and “understand how STEM is relevant and the jobs that are possible through STEM.”
Camps decided to join FIRST Robotics because she wants to help kids in Detroit. According to the Free Press, she was drawn to the plethora of nonprofits operating in Detroit aiming to improve children’s lives and wanted to be a part of that.
Camps’ all-girls team, called Mercy Midnight Storm, is comprised of 20 high school girls. The team meets with Camps three times during the week and spends up to 10 hours each Saturday from January to March. The team has six weeks to build a robot.
Camps reflects the examples set on by GM CEO Mary Barra to foster more female participation in STEM education and STEM careers. Barra herself holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from what’s now known as Kettering University, before going on to receive her MBA from Stanford.
Source: Detroit Free Press