November 8, 2018  /   Los Angeles

Breaking Down Barriers

Miranda was a 7th grader at Stevenson Middle School who displayed no shortage of passion or energy – but struggled to communicate her goals with others and connect her student life with her ambitions for the future. She signed up for Spark with the goal of learning the skills needed to share her creative ideas with those around her by working on an interest-driven project with a mentor. Last fall, Spark matched Miranda with Ruchi, an Associate Vice President at City National Bank, who helped her become attuned with her knack for design and technology.

Miranda and Ruchi worked alongside other Spark student and mentor pairs on a group project centered around how to break into the robotics industry. Together, they embarked on a distinguished project: to build a robot that plays soccer in a model stadium they design – from scratch. Together, Miranda and Ruchi dove deep into the details of robotics and design – how do you sketch a layout of a stadium? which tools are needed to build a robot? how do you combine all the moving parts of the robot to bring it to life? Throughout the weeks, Miranda became more inspired, transfixed on the creativity required to build the stadium and robot. As she worked alongside her peers, her mentor noticed Miranda not only begin to learn the technical skills required to bring a robot to life, but also the skills needed to work together with others and express her creativity with her peers.

As the semester came to a close, Miranda and her peers continued to fit together the final pieces of the robot, tie the last wires, and place the final touches on their stadium as they geared up to present their project at “Share Your Spark” – Spark’s end of semester project fair.  Share Your Spark invited peers, supporters, and family members to witness the projects Spark students created throughout their mentorship with their mentors. As people gathered to listen to Miranda speak about her project and display the robot, she faced technical difficulties: the robot became static, no longer roaming the stadium. Miranda was undaunted. With all eyes on her and a screwdriver in hand, she picked apart the robot, fixed the broken part, and continued to speak about her project – all within minutes.

(Miranda at Share Your Spark fixing the robot she built with her peers)

Through the skills she built during her mentorship, Miranda enhanced her communication skills and learned the ins and outs of building a robot. After the completion of her mentorship, she decided to begin another journey – to break down gender barriers and pursue her passion in architecture and interior design for the years to come.

Read Next