advancing women

A international organization dedicated to advancing women in robotics

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Initiated nearly three years ago, Women in Robotics launched as a grassroots movement aimed at increasing female representation within the tech sector, particularly in the predominantly male field of robotics. Evolving into a global nonprofit network, the organization is now establishing its latest chapter in San Antonio.

The San Antonio chapter of Women in Robotics (WiR) marks the organization’s sole presence in Texas.

With a burgeoning tech sector and renowned educational institutions, the city emerged as an ideal location for the group’s expansion, noted Stephanie Garcia, business development and communications specialist at Port San Antonio, which played a pivotal role in launching the San Antonio chapter.

Historically, census data indicates that the representation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), particularly in the field of robotics, has remained low. However, Women in Robotics aims to contribute to changing this trend.

“There’s room for everyone in robotics,” Garcia emphasized, underscoring WiR’s inclusive stance toward nonbinary individuals in its various chapters.

WiR has already initiated collaborations with schools like Lutheran, offering students the chance to embark on their STEM journey while receiving guidance from industry professionals. Local and national mentors support students, enabling them to partake in activities like robot programming and fabrication in competitive environments.

“We aim to engage young women in FIRST Robotics… there’s ample scope for volunteerism, which I’m actively promoting within our chapter,” Garcia expressed. “Yet, I’m particularly keen on encouraging these young ladies to take up judging roles, given their aptitude for it.”

The initial collaborator in this initiative, FIRST Robotics, headquartered in New Hampshire, collaborates with schools to introduce students to STEM through robotics competitions. Now, it partners with WiR to enhance the student experience further.

“Showcasing professional women, their stories, and achievements can inspire young kids that they, too, can achieve their goals,” Vasquez Sandoval remarked.

“As the tech community expands, acknowledging our Chicano community is vital,” Vasquez Sandoval stressed. “There’s ample scope for outreach and engaging underrepresented ethnicities in tech.”

A 2020 study by the National Science Board highlighted Latino and Black communities as the most underrepresented groups in STEM.

“I understand the feeling of being underrepresented,” Vasquez Sandoval shared. “As a transgender woman, I’ve navigated my unique path.”

WiR’s collaboration with local companies aligns with San Antonio’s growth in the robotics sector.

“We owe the thriving startup scene to a select few companies,” Vasquez Sandoval acknowledged. “It’s essential to showcase our city’s progress for the collective benefit.”

The official launch of WiR’s San Antonio chapter is scheduled for a March 21 event, offering opportunities for attendees to engage with keynote speakers and panelists.

5 Important Steps for Women to Move Forward in Their Careers

advance women
advance women

When I was just starting out as a developer, a colleague who had been working with me in a student role graduated and began applying for jobs. He ended up going for an interview at a company that’s still doing well today. However, there was a mix-up, and they accidentally scheduled him for a team leader interview instead of a developer position. Despite the error being caught during the process, he still received a job offer and accepted it.

I was really impressed by this. I had always thought that career progression should be straightforward and based on hard work and skill. But it made me realize that there was a big difference between how I saw myself and where I needed to be.

Step 1: Building Determination

Back in 2015, I was aiming for a promotion to become a director among two other engineering managers. I’d been working hard for the past couple of years, making improvements to my managerial skills, keeping my team satisfied, and successfully handling projects. Despite all this, I felt like my career advancement was in the hands of the VP. If he decided to promote me, great. But if not, I feared being stuck in a job with no prospects.

Step 2: Building Resilience

Stay calm and composed when dealing with unexpected events at work, like changes in the organization, new managers, industry shake-ups, or even job loss. Remember, setbacks don’t define you as a person. It’s important to stay resilient and learn from these experiences.

If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t perform at your best, such as being a parent needing a flexible schedule, don’t hesitate to communicate your needs to your manager or team. There’s no need to feel guilty or apologize for wanting to balance your career with your family responsibilities. It’s possible to pursue both goals successfully.

Step 3: Seek Advice and Feedback

Early in my career, I faced a significant challenge that I didn’t even realize was there. Despite being a successful software developer, when I aimed for a leadership role, I was seen as overly aggressive. Interestingly, if a man behaved similarly, he would likely be seen as assertive and ambitious instead. This led to me missing out on a promotion I rightly deserved. Lacking female role models, I tried to fit into the mold of male stereotypes, thinking it was the key to success. It was a tough period in my career, but it taught me a valuable lesson.

What I learned is the importance of seeking feedback and guidance from managers, colleagues, and ideally a mentor. They can provide insights that you might not realize on your own. By listening and making necessary changes, you show your dedication to personal growth and development.

Step 4: Don’t wait around for someone to pat you on the back.

Instead of hoping for recognition, make sure you’re acknowledged for your hard work. Look for chances to take on big projects or tasks. Find unique ways to stand out and contribute. Maybe give a talk about something new in your field. Even if it’s not directly related to your job, learn about professional topics outside your usual scope and give them a try.

Step 5: Observe and Learn

What can we learn from observing successful men around us? It’s important to note that these observations are based on stereotypes, and it’s not necessary to adopt everything men do. Instead, choose what empowers you and find inspiration in it. Develop your own approach.

Men don’t dwell on failure. They quickly move forward as if nothing happened.

They prioritize their goals, aiming high and putting in their utmost effort to achieve them. They tend to be less emotionally tied to balancing work and home life.

Men don’t wait for approval from others. They confidently pursue opportunities and aren’t afraid to negotiate for better compensation.


advance women
advance women


Follow for more information Following a series of initial triumphs, the CEO of Darkhive generously imparts invaluable insights to startups in San Antonio


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